Heartbroken mum who claims daughter was killed by dirty water at hospital begs health chiefs to tell the truth


A HEARTBROKEN mum claims the NHS covered up her cancer-stricken daughter’s death after she contracted a dirty water infection at a hospital.

Furious Kimberly Darroch, 35, from Lanark, says she feels “let down and lied to” after her girl Milly Main, 10, died while in remission at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Kimberly Darroch said she feels ‘let down and lied to’

She said she is “100 per cent” sure the dirty water infection was what caused her daughter’s tragic death.

Speaking to the Daily Record, she said: “I feel let down and lied to. There are no words. I am in shock.

“We were told that they didn’t know the infection she had and what caused her deterioration.
“We were never given any clear indication of what caused Milly’s death.

“We are her parents. We deserve to know the truth.

“I want an apology. I want them to admit what they have done is wrong. And I want them to admit that they’ve covered it up.”

Speaking about the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board, she said: “I think they knew prior to Milly’s death that the water was contaminated and they knew that this was the infection that killed my daughter.”

Asked if there was a cover-up, she said: “Yes.”

Milly went to the QEUH as she battle cancer for the second time – having previously spent two years at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital.

She was successfully treated, and ready to return home.

Kimberly Darroch claims the NHS are covering up her daughter’s hospital death

But devastated mum Kimberley told how the 10-year-old then caught an infection in her Hickman’s line, a catheter used to administer chemotherapy.

This led to her suffering a septic shock after it was removed.

Kimberly said: “After that it took them nine days to put Milly into intensive care, with her heart function down at 17%. Milly was blue before they took her to the Intensive Care unit.

“When you’ve got a Hickman line, it’s open.

“She had showers every day in that hospital and I was very strict in cleaning it. Me and Milly cleaned it.”

Kimberly wrote to Health Secretary Jeane Freeman
Alamy Live News

And she grew suspicious when “stenotrophomonas” was listed as a cause of death on her daughter’s death certificate, since it didn’t come up again.

In September this year the grief-stricken mum wrote to Health Secretary Jeane Freeman urging her to look into Milly’s death.

But Kimberly said of her response: “I was a bit shocked, just the fact that it didn’t really answer any of my questions, didn’t give me any information other than they were holding a public inquiry [into the hospital more generally].”

The mum’s claims come after an MSP accused health bosses of covering up the water contamination death.

Anas Sarwar said a whistleblower told him a doctor-led probe uncovered the infection link
PA:Press Association

Anas Sarwar said a whistleblower told him a doctor-led probe uncovered the infection link.

At First Minister’s Questions yesterday, the Labour MSP told Nicola Sturgeon and her Health Secretary Jeane Freeman: “You aren’t being told the truth.

“I implore you, for the sake of the staff who’ve been put in this unforgivable situation, for the sake of all the patients who use this hospital, for the sake of public trust in our institutions, but most of all, for the sake of those parents – particularly of the child who has lost their life – will you please personally intervene?

“To seek answers, to get justice for the families, and to take the necessary actions so this never happens again.”

The hospital and its management already face an upcoming public inquiry after two patients died after contracting a fungal infection linked to pigeon droppings.

Ms Sturgeon did not offer any insight into what the Scottish Government knew about the claim yesterday
PA:Press Association

Mr Sarwar told MSPs: “Something is seriously wrong at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus.

“Since its opening there have been a series of scandals. But this one has broken me.

“I have had information shared with me which shows senior managers have been repeatedly alerted to the fact that a previous review failed to include cases of infection related to the water supply in 2017.

“Central to this whistleblowing evidence is that there were 26 infections at the children’s cancer ward.

“And in one case, a child died as a result. To this day the parents have never been told.

“This isn’t just a scandal it’s a heartbreaking human tragedy.”

In her response to Mr Sarwar at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon did not offer any insight into what the Scottish Government knew about the claim.

But she said she was “absolutely determined that these matters are fully investigated”.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said in a statement: “Following the announcement of a public inquiry into issues at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow and Royal Hospital for Children in Edinburgh on September 17, I received correspondence on September 20 from the bereaved parent of a child who had died after receiving treatment at the QEUH in 2017.

“This was the first time I had been made aware of this. On October 23 I wrote to the parent expressing my condolences for their very sad loss. I also advised them I was ensuring senior staff from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde would make personal contact with them.

“I am aware of the importance of patient confidentiality and so I did not treat this correspondence as a public matter.”

In a statement – which did not confirm or deny the whistleblower claim – NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Our overriding priority at all times is the safety of our patients.

The hospital and its management already face an upcoming public inquiry
PA:Press Association

“We rigorously review all cases of infection to ensure that our patients are appropriately cared for.

“We also completed an additional clinical review of the cases from 2017 in July 2019. This was carried out by senior clinical staff and it was concluded that no further action was required.

“Further to this, we have been working closely with external advisors Health Protection Scotland, assisted by Strathclyde University, on a review of cases of infection over a period from January 2015 to September 2019 and this report is due imminently.

“It is important to make clear that the water supply to the Royal Hospital for Children and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is safe to use.

“Extensive measures have been put in place, including the installation of a water treatment system, as well as filters on water outlets.

“The water has been assessed by an independent water expert who has confirmed that it is ‘wholesome’, meaning it is safe to use.”

They added: “When a patient dies in our care, our clinical teams discuss with family members the cause of death and the factors that have contributed to this, where they are known.”

Asked to answer The Scottish Sun’s specific questions, a spokeswoman said: “We have nothing to add to the statement we have provided to you.”

Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “It should not take a whistleblower and  opposition MSP to drag the truth out. The Health Secretary must apologise  to the family and resign or, if she  refuses, be sacked.”

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