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Child's hospital death 'linked to contaminated water'

A whistleblower claimed a cancer patient died as a result of contaminated water at Scotland's largest hospital. The whistleblower raised concerns about the findings of a review into infections in child cancer patients.

Jeane Freeman, the health secretary, says she knew in September a child had died after contracting an infection possibly linked to water at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, but did not make it public. She told BBC Scotland she acted on the information but chose to maintain patient confidentiality.

Ms Freeman said she felt for the child's parents. She said: "I deeply regret not only the death of their child. In any circumstance that has to cause a pain that I can't possibly imagine, but I also deeply regret that they feel they haven't been given the information that they have a perfect right to receive and are entitled to. They have my commitment to act to ensure that situation does not happen to parents in the future".

"I don't regret honouring patient confidentiality. But upholding patient confidentiality does not mean I don't act on the information I am given."

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar had raised the issue - which was brought to light by an NHS whistleblower - during First Minister's Questions on Thursday. He  described the situation as a "cover-up".

The MSP said he had seen information which showed that senior managers were repeatedly alerted to the fact a previous review failed to include cases of infection related to the water supply in 2017. He said the parents of the child had never been told the true cause of their child's death.

Greater Glasgow Health Board say a link between the infection and the hospital cannot be proven because regulations at the time did not require water testing.

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Source: BBC News, 14 November 2019


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