Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Top nurse (36) in US tragedy

Deep vein thrombosis not ruled out

THE family of a leading Ulster nurse who collapsed and died days after a flight to America have spoken of their pride in her work.

THE family of a leading Ulster nurse who collapsed and died days after a flight to America have spoken of their pride in her work.

The blood clot condition deep vein thrombosis - a danger to long-haul passengers - has not been ruled out in the death of tragic Siobhan Rankin (36) in California.

Dedicated Siobhan held a key post at the Royal Hospital and was the first ever Ulster-based chairman of the UK-wide National Association of Theatre Nurses. She was also the association's youngest ever leader.

Her proud father, Jim Atkinson, from Moneymore, Co Londonderry said Siobhan had been "born a nurse."

"It was all she ever wanted to do," he said. "The whole family were immensely proud of what she had achieved in her career.

"Siobhan was totally dedicated to her profession and that's something all her family and friends greatly admired."

Mr Atkinson added: "It's going to take some time to sink in that Siobhan is not with us any more.

"She was in good health, enjoying her life and it was a total shock to the system when we were informed of what had happened.

"The past week has been a nightmare. There was so little we could do to help.

"But we were pacified by the fact that Siobhan wasn't alone over there. She had good friends and colleagues with her."

Siobhan's mother Sally said: "It was a great comfort to us that her friends were over there dealing with all the necessary arrangements.

"I know it has been a very traumatic time for them as well and I'd like them to know that we will be forever grateful for what they have done for us."

Siobhan had travelled to Annaheim, California for a work-related conference but collapsed and failed to regain consciousness.

She had travelled to the US on a long haul flight a few days earlier and its believed that deep vein thrombosis - possibly developed during her flight - is not being ruled out as a cause of death.

The former pupil of Moneymore Primary and Rainey Endowed, Magherafelt, had moved straight into nursing after leaving school and had risen through the ranks to become directorate manager of education, research and development, based at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

Marion King, treasurer of the NATN and a close friend of Siobhan's, stayed on in the US to bring her home.

Her funeral was in Moneymore Presbyterian Church on Wednesday.

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