'Broken' mum of Dr Watt patient in plea for answers after daughter's death
The heartbroken mother of a deceased former client of the consultant at the centre of Northern Ireland's biggest ever patient recall believes her daughter would "still be here" if she had never encountered Dr Michael Watt.
North Belfast woman Amanda Scott was on holiday in Turkey when she received a devastating phone call to inform her that her daughter Zoe (30) had died in her sleep on Thursday morning.
However, the stranded Thomas Cook customer was unable to fly home until Saturday.
"I got home just before they released her body," she said. "They did two post mortems. All I know is that she died in her sleep. I just can't get my head around it. Zoe was the nicest, kindest, funniest human being. She never hurt anyone and took people the way she found them."
The mother-of-one was diagnosed with a terminal brain condition more than four years after she began seeing neurologist Dr Watt.
Zoe suffered a stroke when she was a student nurse and taking care of her 18-month-old daughter Molly. She began experiencing symptoms that included a "complete personality change" and suicidal thoughts.
She was placed under Dr Watt's care at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
"She had headaches that never went away and was in so much pain," her grieving mum recalled.
"She was such an intelligent wee girl and knew something serious was wrong and I begged with her for scans, but she never got the help she deserved.
"She attempted suicide twice and they said it was mental illness.
"She ended up losing custody of her wee girl but she was just trying to get relief from the pain."
It wasn't until Zoe collapsed in December 2015 that she finally had a brain scan which revealed her symptoms were caused by progressive moyamoya disease, a rare cerebrovascular disorder.
"She was right and Dr Watt should have known that," Amanda said.
"He should have recognised the symptoms and started her on treatment and she would still be here. "It's horrible watching my 10-year-old granddaughter looking into her mother's coffin."
Molly is now taking comfort in the thought of her mummy watching over her, but Amanda isn't.
"My daughter should be here raising her child - she should still be walking, talking and doing her job.
"I am 100% convinced that if it wasn't for Dr Watt she would be," she said.
Mrs Scott reiterated her call for health officials to be more transparent and to provide the answers she seeks. "I'm not angry anymore, I'm broken," she said.
"I just want answers and for Dr Watt and the Belfast Trust to be held accountable - not just to me, but to all the others."
Last month it emerged that a hearing into the actions of Dr Watt will not happen until next year.
The recall of his patients 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 lack of information.
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 it was adjourned, the Department of Health cancelled the publication of an outcomes report which was supposed to update charities, politicians and the media on the condition of patients.
Last night a spokesperson for the Belfast Trust offered condolences to Amanda and the wider family circle.
"We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the Scott family at this sad time," it said.
A private funeral service will be held in Amanda's Bann Court home tomorrow followed by committal in Roselawn Crematorium at 1.30pm.