£45k damages for mother who lost daughter months after liver surgery at Belfast hospital
A grieving mother whose two-year-old daughter died within months of undergoing liver tumour surgery at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children is to receive £45,000 damages.
Carol O'Neill sued over an alleged failure to properly inform her about dealing with any potential complications before she consented to the procedure in May 2011.
Her child, Scarlett McDonagh, had to be taken to medical facilities in Birmingham for treatment to internal bleeding following the liver biopsy.
Scarlett died in October that year after infections were discovered as she prepared for a liver transplant, according to her parents.
Ms O'Neill's medical negligence lawsuit against the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust was settled at the High Court on Friday.
Her barrister, Alan Kane QC, confirmed judgment is to be entered against the Trust for £45,000 plus costs.
But Ms O'Neill and Scarlett's father, James McDonagh, insisted the case was never about the money.
The couple, from the Twinbrook area of west Belfast, stressed their focus was on ensuring other parents do not endure the same suffering.
"There's no money in the world can bring our daughter back, or take away the pain and hurt we deal with every single day," Mrs O'Neill said.
Scarlett had been sick for a number of weeks before being admitted to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and diagnosed with a tumour on her liver.
Ms O'Neill claims that prior to consenting to the biopsy procedure she was never told any internal bleeding could not be controlled in Belfast.
She said her daughter had to be airlifted by the RAF to Birmingham Children's Hospital when complications arose, describing the care she received there as "excellent".
Within weeks the little girl had recovered sufficiently to start chemotherapy, but further issues allegedly developed following her transfer back to the Royal.
It was claimed that her wounds were not properly treated, causing infection and swelling to the stomach.
Scarlett, who had been placed on a liver transplant list, passed away in October 2011 after returning to Birmingham for the scheduled surgery.
Following the legal settlement Ms O'Neill insisted the original biopsy should have been carried out in England.
"They knew exactly what to do if there was a bleed, they have the facilities," she added.
Her solicitor, Gary Adair of Wilson Nesbitt, said the family brought the case to fight for their daughter and highlight a wider situation.
"They believe that had the initial biopsy surgery been carried out in Birmingham Children's Hospital Scarlet would have been in a facility which had the expertise to deal with complications and may still be with them," Mr Adair said.
"The family hope that this case will encourage the health service in Northern Ireland to improve services to children in the province."
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has been contacted for comment.
Belfast Telegraph Digital