orthern Eire’s chief scientific adviser will discover out if he has succeeded in a Excessive Courtroom bid to dam a disciplinary investigation into allegations he failed to inform the household of a nine-year-old lady who died about “failings” in her remedy.
Claire Roberts died from hyponatraemia, which is linked to a scarcity of sodium within the blood, on the Royal Hospital for Sick Youngsters in Belfast on October 21 1996, shortly after she was admitted to hospital following a number of episodes of vomiting.
Professor Ian Younger was requested to overview the case in 2004 and supply an evaluation on whether or not hyponatraemia contributed to Claire’s loss of life.
A public inquiry investigating the deaths of Claire and 4 different kids from the situation discovered Prof Younger didn’t inform Claire’s mother and father – Alan and Jennifer Roberts – about failings in her care and gave “deceptive” proof to the unique inquest into her loss of life.
In a January 2018 report, inquiry chairman Mr Justice O’Hara additionally mentioned Prof Younger had “shifted from his preliminary unbiased function … to one in every of defending the hospital and its medical doctors”.
A brand new inquest, which was ordered following the inquiry, concluded in June 2019 that Claire’s loss of life “was brought on by the remedy that she acquired in hospital”.
Prof Younger referred himself to the Basic Medical Council (GMC) shortly after the inquiry’s report was revealed and the regulator initially determined to not waive its normal five-year time restrict for health to practise proceedings.
However the GMC reversed its resolution in January 2020, discovering it was “within the public curiosity” for the allegations in opposition to Prof Younger to proceed to an investigation.
At a Excessive Courtroom listening to in January, Prof Younger’s barrister Robert Kellar QC mentioned the case in opposition to his shopper “entails substantial delay, important forensic prejudice, exhaustive prior public air flow and no threat to public security”.
He argued the unique resolution that it was not within the public curiosity to waive the statutory time restrict on investigations was “lawful and rational” and the reversal of that call was “inconsistent and unreasonable”.
Mr Kellar additionally argued the second resolution by the GMC “took into consideration irrelevant concerns and unfairly mischaracterised Prof Younger’s conduct”.
With Mr and Mrs Roberts in attendance, Mr Kellar mentioned: “Prof Younger and people who symbolize him as we speak are acutely aware that Mr and Mrs Roberts are right here and are deeply sorry for his or her loss and the loss that the remainder of their household has suffered.”
Peter Mant, representing the GMC, argued in written submissions: “The gravamen of the considerations in regards to the claimant’s conduct, in brief, was that upon being requested to overview information regarding the loss of life of Claire Roberts he instantly recognized failings in fluid administration that have been more likely to have contributed to her loss of life however failed to tell the household or coroner of this truth, and as a substitute offered deceptive data that was supposed to guard the hospital and its medical doctors.”
Mr Mant instructed the court docket the case involved “very critical” allegations that Prof Younger recognized that “there have been errors within the administration of Claire’s fluids which contributed to the hyponatraemia which contributed to her loss of life and that these weren’t acknowledged to the household”.
Mr Mant additionally thanked Mr and Mrs Roberts on behalf of the GMC “for the considerations that they’ve raised”.
He added that Prof Younger was “a talented and revered practitioner” however that the GMC was involved “with the safety of the general public” and sustaining public confidence within the medical occupation – which he mentioned was “on the coronary heart of this case”.
Mr Mant additionally emphasised the GMC was not “making any findings” about Prof Younger at this “early stage within the proceedings”.
Mr Justice Holgate will give his ruling at 10am on Tuesday.