Comment: Hope for a positive legacy from the pain

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The death of schoolboy Jamie Skinner on the football field last December shocked Edinburgh. Our revelations today of the catalogue of errors which hampered efforts to save his life will horrify.

The tragedy of an outwardly healthy 13-year-old boy collapsing and dying while playing football was exactly that, a tragedy. It was an unimaginable event which could not have been foreseen, and for which no-one is to blame.

We don’t know whether staff acting differently on that day at the Saughton Sports Complex may have saved his life – but we do know they should have tried.

Our report today sets out a string of missed opportunities and raises serious questions for Edinburgh Leisure going forward, not least the training and competency of staff in emergency procedures.

Jamie’s family will be closely watching how the organisation responds.

The family have conducted themselves with great dignity throughout and have pledged to ensure some good comes from their grief.

Above all they want to ensure the mistakes highlighted today are never allowed to happen again. If a defibrillator is available then it should be used promptly and not left hanging on an office wall.

We know they have been calling for access to this investigation report but have been refused by Edinburgh Leisure.

Given that many of the main elements are now in the public domain, the argument for keeping this private and denying them a copy seems difficult to defend.

We hope the family will now have the opportunity to examine the findings in detail and discuss further with senior staff.

Most of all we hope there will be a positive legacy emerging from their pain.

Jamie will never be forgotten. Tragedies happen and lives cannot always be saved.

But to try and fail is better than to not try at all.