Conor’s family receive apology from the trust

Conor Mitchell
Conor Mitchell

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust has apologised to the family of a young Lurgan boy whose death is being investigated as part of a public inquiry.

Conor Mitchell died at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children on May 12, 2003 at the age of 15.

The inquiry is investigating issues arising from the treatment of Conor, who was admitted to the A+E department of Craigavon Area Hospital on May 8.

Fluid management and the issue of hyponatraemia – which occurs when there is a low amount of sodium in the blood stream – are central to the public inquiry into alleged medical failures in the deaths of five children including Conor.

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust accepted that the guidelines on the Prevention of Hyponatraemia “were not properly implemented” during the time of Conor’s treatment.

However, the trust said there is “nothing to indicate that the failure to comply” with the guidelines resulted in Conor’s death.

It did accept liability for the failures it did admit.

“The trust apologises to Conor’s family for the failings and shortcomings referred to above and again offers our sincere sympathies to Conor’s family,” the trust said.

The family of Conor Mitchell said they were “pleased that the Southern Trust has finally accepted the failure to provide Conor with the level of care he and they would have expected”.

The family’s solicitor stated: “Despite the reservation to the admission, the full apology is a welcomed turn of events. The fact that they have had to fight for 10 years to receive this remains a matter of regret.

“The family hope that these admissions will signal a new era of openness and transparency for the NHS in dealing with future traumatic events.”

The ‘MAIL’ understands that further admissions from the trust are imminent when the tribunal resumes today (Thursday).