Mother of Milly Main calls for 'truth' about daughter's hospital death

The mother of a 10-year-old girl who died after contracting an infection at Glasgow’s flagship hospital said a public inquiry must ‘uncover the truth” about the failings that led to her daughter’s death.

Kimberly Darroch and her daughter Milly Main, who died aged 10 after contracting an infection at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. PIC: Contributed.
Kimberly Darroch and her daughter Milly Main, who died aged 10 after contracting an infection at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. PIC: Contributed.

Milly Main died at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in August 2017 after a Hickman line, a catheter used to administer drugs, became infected.

Milly, who had suffered from leukaemia from the age of five, was recovering from a stem cell transplant in the children’s hospital at the time of her death.

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An upturn in the type of bacteria that killed Milly, which is found in water, soil and plants ,was recorded in the children’s hospital in 2017. The cancer ward in which she was treated was closed in 2018 due to a contaminated water supply.

A public inquiry into issues at both the £575million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh, which is yet to be fully operational, is due to start tomorrow.

Milly’s mother Kimberly Darroch, 36, from Lanark, said:“Nearly three years since Milly died, we feel the heart-breaking loss of our daughter every day and feel we’re still in the dark about her death.

“Having been let down by the health board, we hope the public inquiry will uncover the truth about what happened at the hospital – not just for us, but for all the families affected and to ensure no other family ever has to go through what we went through.”

The public inquiry will be led by Lord Brodie, a serving judge at the Inner House of the Court of Session and senator of the College of Justice, will examine the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the two hospitals.

It will also look at the impact of ventilation and water contamination on patient safety and whether these issues could have been prevented.

The aim of the inquiry is to ensure any part mistakes are not repeated in future NHS infrastructure projects.

It follows on from an independent review into QUEH which was launched after a number of patients contracted severe infections linked to water quality and ventilation.

That review found that patients, staff and some visitors were exposed to risk given the design, build and commissioning of the hospital.

Labour MSP for Glasgow, Anas Sarwar, who has been representing Ms Darroch, said the failing at the hospitals had been a “national tragedy”.

Mr Sarwar said: “There is a huge amount of pressure on this public inquiry, which must deliver answers for parents, patients and the public.

"The catastrophic failures at the QEUH, and the associated problems with the Sick Kids in Edinburgh, are a national tragedy.

"There has been a complete loss of public trust in the Glasgow health board, which engaged in a disgraceful cover-up, with the water contamination problems only coming to light because of the bravery of NHS clinicians. Success or failure of this inquiry will depend on getting answers for Milly’s parents and all the families affected.”

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