Scottish Hospitals Inquiry: Mother says daughter’s life was ‘put at risk’ in hospital at centre of inquiry

A mother whose daughter was treated for cancer has said she feels her child’s life was put at risk during her time in a hospital at the centre of an inquiry.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 3:04 pm
A mother whose daughter was treated for cancer has said she feels her child’s life was put at risk during her time in a hospital at the centre of an inquiry.

Charmaine Lacock’s daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia in August 2018 when she was two-and-a-half, and she was treated as both an in and outpatient at the Royal Hospital for Children and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow for more than two years.

During the course of her treatment, she developed a number of infections and had to stop chemotherapy, which her mother feared “increased her risk of relapse and potentially death”.

The Scottish Hospitals Inquiry is investigating the construction of the QEUH campus after issues at the flagship site were linked to the deaths of two children.

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Cancer patient, 11, in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow left without shower f...

It is also examining the construction of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh.

Ms Lacock’s daughter was admitted in August 2018 to ward 2A in the Schiehallion unit, the children’s cancer unit in the Royal Hospital for Children at the QEUH.

Ms Lacock told the inquiry on Thursday that she had concerns about the safety of the water as there were signs up telling people not to drink it and filters on the taps, and she was so concerned she washed her daughter with wet wipes rather than in the shower.

Wards 2A and 2B closed in September 2018 after concerns about the water system emerged, and children were moved to ward 6A in the adult hospital.

The inquiry heard Ms Lacock’s daughter developed a number of infections including one in March 2019 called pseudomonas which a doctor said could be potentially life-threatening.

Ms Lacock described it as an “environmental bug” and said she asked a doctor whether it was a hospital-acquired infection and was told a microbiologist would be in touch with her, but she never heard from anyone.

Alastair Duncan QC, counsel to the inquiry, asked: “How do you feel about the fact that your daughter had four infections in the hospital, and possibly that there is a connection between that and the hospital?”

Ms Lacock said: “I feel angry, I feel that stole time that I could have had with my other girls and I felt that they put my child’s life at risk. I felt that every time we had to stop chemo for treating an infection, that increased her risk of relapse and potentially death. I felt angry.

“I’m petrified to think that she could relapse and we have to go back there.”

The inquiry was ordered after patients at the Glasgow hospital died from infections linked to pigeon droppings and the water supply, and the opening of the Edinburgh site was delayed due to concerns over the ventilation system.

Ms Lacock said her daughter was also given prophylactic antifungal medicine without her parents being asked for consent, and was on posaconazole between August 2018 and March 2019.

Earlier this year, an independent review found the deaths of two children at the QEUH campus were at least in part the result of infections linked to the hospital environment.

The inquiry in Edinburgh, chaired by Lord Brodie, continues.

Health boards will be giving evidence at a later stage in the inquiry.

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