Milly Main (pictured) was in remission from leukaemia before contracting an infection in Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in 2017
The mother of a 10-year-old girl whose death at a Glasgow hospital is at the centre of allegations of a cover-up has said she feels let down and lied to.
Milly Main was in remission from leukaemia before contracting an infection in Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in 2017.
Her mother, Kimberly Darroch, 35, from Lanark, told the BBC she is ‘100%’ certain contaminated water caused the infection, Stenotrophomonas, listed as a possible cause on her daughter’s death certificate.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it was not possible to conclude infections identified in 2017 were connected to the water supply because it was not required to test for bloodstream infection Stenotrophomonas at that time.
Ms Darroch told the BBC she feels ‘let down but lied to’, and broke down in tears on Thursday after reading in the Daily Record newspaper about a whistleblower informing Labour MSP Anas Sarwar that a doctor-led investigation found the death of a young cancer patient QEUH in 2017 was linked to an infected water supply.
She said: ‘I think they knew prior to Milly’s death that the water was contaminated.
‘I feel that they knew that this was the infection that killed my daughter but no-one came forward to tell us.’
Her mother, Kimberly Darroch, (right) 35, from Lanark, told the BBC she is ‘100%’ certain contaminated water caused the infection
She added: ‘I think they should get the answers from the inquiry and release them. I want an apology, I want them to admit what they have done is wrong and I want them to admit that the covered it up.’
The cover-up allegations have led to calls for Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to resign.
Ms Darroch said she wrote to Ms Freeman asking for answers and wanted more than the response she received that an official inquiry will be held.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it was not possible to conclude infections identified in 2017 were connected to the water supply. Milly in hospital
In a statement on Friday, Ms Freeman said that three days after she announced an inquiry into the infection at the hospital on September 17, a parent contacted her to tell her of their child’s death after treatment at QEUH in 2017.
She said she wrote back on October 23 expressing condolences, saying she had asked senior NHSGGC staff to contact the parent and checked later this had been done.
She added: ‘I am at all times aware of the importance of patient confidentiality and so rightly, I believe, I did not treat this correspondence as a public matter.
‘The ward in which the child concerned in the correspondence I received on 20 September, 2A/2B, was closed and undergoing remedial and upgrading work.
‘Any suggestion that children were at risk after I received this information is therefore incorrect.’
The Scottish Conservatives have said Ms Freeman should resign or be sacked after the Government ‘covered up’ the case.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said Ms Freeman’s decision not to go public was ‘incomprehensible’ and called on her to make a statement at Holyrood on the issue.
Mr Sarwar also called for Ms Freeman to address the Scottish Parliament, saying: ‘The Health Secretary needs to remember her job is to protect patients, families and staff, not institutions.
‘I have promised Milly’s family I will stand by them until they get the answers and justice they deserve, no matter how long it takes.’
An official investigation into water contamination at the hospital found 23 cases of child cancer patients with Stenotrophomonas in 2018, but an NHS whistleblower told Mr Sarwar an internal investigation uncovered an additional 26 cases since 2017 – including one child who died.
A NHSGGC spokeswoman said: ‘This week’s coverage will have been very challenging for Milly’s family. It is a tragedy in any situation when a young child dies. We would again like to share our deepest condolences with the family involved.
‘We have offered to meet Ms Darroch to discuss her concerns, and to answer her questions where we can.
‘We fully understand that the family wants to know whether the infection Milly had is connected to the water supply.
‘The truth is there is no way to know this as we did not consider this to be the source at the time and we did not test for the particular infection in the water supply.
‘We remain very concerned that a member of staff has made a claim of a link when there is no evidence of this, causing significant distress and anxiety to Milly’s parents.
‘The water in the hospital is safe and has been independently assessed as such.’
Last night, Scottish Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said: ‘There’s no way Jeane Freeman can continue [as Health Secretary].
‘It shouldn’t take a whistleblower to drag the truth out of this SNP Government.
‘It’s completely unacceptable. Patients will be furious such a serious failure has been covered up. The Health Secretary must apologise to the family and resign or, if she refuses, be sacked.’