Belfast Telegraph

'Scandalous': Widow of Brian Magill, who died in Belfast hospital 20 years ago, slams inquest outcome

Brian Magill
Brian Magill
Bernie Magill
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

The widow of a retired bank manager says she is "sickened" by the outcome of an inquest into her husband's death in a Belfast hospital 20 years ago.

A post-mortem examination originally found liver cancer caused the death of retired bank manager Brian Magill (66) on December 30, 1999.

However his widow Bernie has always said he died of blood poisoning caused by a perforated bile duct - an allegation disputed by medics who treated him.

Doctors were previously cleared of medical negligence in a trial lasting 45 days.

In February 2015, Attorney General John Larkin asked for a fresh probe into the circumstances surrounding the death after saying the case involved "various public safety issues" around Mr Magill's nursing and medical care, which should be examined in a Coroner's Court. The move followed a lengthy legal battle by Mrs Magill.

She petitioned Mr Larkin after representing herself in a failed legal challenge in 2010 against the doctors and three hospitals involved in her husband's care - the City Hospital, where he died; the Royal Victoria, and the Ulster Independent Clinic.

Coroner Patrick McGurgan yesterday delivered the findings of his new inquest, stating that Mr Magill's death was the result of renal failure and sepsis following the insertion of stents due to bile duct cancer.

Referring to medical evidence, Mr McGurgan said doctors had diagnosed Mr Magill's invasive tumour "in the worst place".

His 16-page report also found that on balance, there had been no perforation of the bile ducts.

In relation to Mr Magill's medical notes and records, the coroner said some parts were "deficient in detail" and included "inaccurate descriptions". Highlighting "the absolute importance of accurate recording", the coroner said this did not impact on the final outcome.

Mrs Magill, who did not attend yesterday's hearing in Belfast, has accused leading doctors of covering up mistakes that allegedly led to her husband's controversial hospital death.

Speaking last night, Mrs Magill said she was angered by the coroner's findings and would be lodging an appeal.

"It's absolutely scandalous what has taken place and I believe that this inquest was manipulated from day one," she said. "I will not stay quiet.

"I will be seeking a judicial review of the findings and taking this as far as I can."

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