Belfast Telegraph

Grief of mum as daughter who was in care of recall scandal medic Dr Watt dies at age 30

Amanda Scott with daughter Zoe at her home in north Belfast
Amanda Scott with daughter Zoe at her home in north Belfast
Patient recall: Dr Michael Watt
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

The heartbroken mother of a patient of controversial neurologist Dr Michael Watt was last night desperately trying to get home from holiday after her daughter passed away.

Amanda Scott, who is currently in Turkey and one of the victims of the Thomas Cook collapse, received the devastating news that her 30-year-old daughter Zoe Scott had died unexpectedly in her sleep two days ago.

A distraught Mrs Scott said that a post-mortem examination is due to be carried out on Zoe as soon as possible, while she attempts to get back to Belfast by today.

Last night the anguished mum, who was still coming to terms with the news of Zoe's death, told the Belfast Telegraph that she "could hardly talk never mind think".

"Zoe died in her sleep," she said speaking from Turkey.

"She's at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

"I'm stuck in Turkey but I'm trying my best to get back to Belfast as soon as I can."

Last month it emerged that a hearing into the actions of Dr Watt, the consultant at the centre of Northern Ireland's biggest ever patient recall, will not happen until next year.

The recall was sparked by concerns over possible misdiagnosis.

A preliminary hearing due to be held in June was adjourned.

Charities and patients have voiced concerns at the pace of the investigations and the lack of information on developments.

The Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing was to examine the circumstances surrounding the recall of 3,500 of the neurologist's patients in May 2018.

Around the same time that it was adjourned, the Department of Health also cancelled the publication of an outcomes report during which charities, politicians and the media were to be updated on the condition of Dr Watt's patients.

Last year, when the Belfast Health Trust refused to release a copy of the report which sparked the recall of over 2,500 neurology patients, Mrs Scott accused the trust of "adding insult to injury".

Her daughter Zoe was diagnosed with a terminal brain condition after more than four years without a scan in the care of Dr Watt.

Zoe suffered a stroke at the end of March 2011 - when she was a student nurse with an 18-month-old daughter - and within weeks was placed under Dr Watt's care at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Mrs Scott said that despite her daughter suffering from severe daily headaches, suicidal feelings and a "complete personality change", she was not offered a scan or any other kind of investigation for over four-and-a-half years.

She added that it wasn't until Zoe collapsed in December 2015 that she finally had a brain scan at the Royal - which showed that she had progressive moyamoya disease, a rare cerebrovascular disorder.

"It's absolutely shameful to recall 2,500 patients without telling them the findings of this report," Mrs Scott said at the time.

"Since the recall, Dr Watt's patients have been going through a period of terrible anxiety and can't get answers from the Belfast Trust.

"I believe that the trust is making more effort to protect Dr Watt than to provide answers to patients.

"I can remember sitting in Dr Watt's office begging him for a scan for my daughter, but I thought I could trust him as a medical professional.

"Now my daughter has gone from being a student nurse to just sitting in a chair in supported living watching TV 24 hours a day.

"She isn't able to be a proper mummy to her wee girl. If Zoe had been diagnosed sooner she might have got the treatment she needed and could have been able to have a better quality of life for longer and to care for her daughter.

"Zoe has her recall appointment on June 4, but what good can that do her now?

"I want answers, and I am considering going down the legal route to get them.

"This has really, really got to me. I have barely been able to leave the house since it all started."

Belfast Telegraph

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