Parents probed death after UTV report

Published Thursday, 13 December 2012
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The parents of Claire Roberts who died in the Royal Victoria have told an inquiry how watching a UTV documentary eight years after her death prompted them to demand answers from the hospital.

Parents probed death after UTV report
Claire Roberts's death is being investigated in the Hyponatraemia inquiry. (© UTV)

Jennifer and Alan Roberts told the hyponatraemia inquiry in Banbridge on Thursday that the programme, 'Hospitals Kill' raised "all sorts of issues" for them.

Their nine-year-old daughter was admitted to the Royal Hospital on 21 October 1996, suffering from vomiting and drowsiness.

She died two days later.

Her death and that of four other children is now being examined by the inquiry.

Hyponatraemia, a condition caused by not having enough sodium in the body's fluids, was linked to her death.

Claire's father, Mr Roberts said watching the documentary which aired around the anniversary of her death- "It was as if we were those parents."

"It brought back so many similarities, so much talking about fluid, fluid administration, fluid around the brain and brain swelling," he said.

When asked what they resolved to do after they watched the programme Mr Roberts told the inquiry, "we definitely had to go back to the Royal and contact whoever we needed to contact at the Royal. It raised issues that needed answers".

Mrs Roberts recalled the family's reaction after the programme ended.

"One of the boys was up in his room. He came down and there was silence because we were upset by it. It was as if we were the parents.

"We were very emotional. Gareth came down and he was very emotional. He just said 'Is that what happened to Claire?"

The inquiry also heard how the programme was broadcast exactly eight years after the day she was admitted to hospital.

Mr Roberts revealed he phoned the Royal the following morning and within just a few hours he had been contacted by a senior doctor who arranged an urgent meeting to discuss their concerns.

The deaths of Adam Strain, Raychel Ferguson, Lucy Crawford and Conor Mitchell are also under investigation.

The inquiry is expected to last into March next year.

© UTV News
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