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Tuesday, 18 June, 2002, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
'The NHS must learn from my daughter's death'
New systems are in place to identify medical errors
The mother of a nine-year-old girl who died after a routine operation went wrong says the investigation of mistakes in the NHS needs to be much more open.

Alison Blair's daughter Audrey was admitted to hospital in October 2000.

She underwent an emergency appendicectomy to remove her appendix but died of complications two and a half weeks later.

"Our daughter Audrey went into hospital for an apendicetomy which is a fairly routine operation but complications set in and she died two and a half weeks later," Mrs Blair said.


There has to be a greater reliance on independent investigations in the case of serious incidents

Alison Blair
"Of course we were absolutely devastated with shock and with grief but what we found very difficult thereafter was that the hospital denied any shortcomings in her care.

"It was really left up to us to prove that was not the case."

The hospital had failed to diagnose a strangulated bowel.

Inquest verdict

An inquest into Audrey's death returned a verdict of misadventure. However, the jury also found that Audrey died of a serious lack of post-operative care.

Mrs Blair believes more needs to be done to ensure mistakes in NHS hospitals are reported and the appropriate lessons are learned.

The hospital which had treated Audrey failed to report her death as a serious incident to the NHS regional office which it should have done.

"The problem at the moment, as I understand it, it is entirely up to the hospital to report any mistakes or errors or it is up to individuals.

"Now none of us are very good at holding our hand up and saying I made a mistake and I really feel that perhaps there has to be a greater reliance on independent investigations in the case of serious incidents such as that of my daughter's."

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Alison Blair
"We were absolutely devastated"
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17 Jun 02 | Health
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