Monday 24 June 2019

Mother of boy (14) denies giving doctors permission to switch off his life support, inquest hears

Oirin McBride passed away at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children in June 2015
Photo: Google Maps
Oirin McBride passed away at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children in June 2015 Photo: Google Maps

Donna Deeney

The mother of a 14-year-old boy wept in court yesterday as she claimed she did not give doctors at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children permission to switch off his life support.

Orin McBride, of Strabane Old Road in the Waterside area of Donderry, had a complex medical history including hydrocephalus, epilepsy and global developmental delay, including autism.

Orin was diagnosed with pancreatitis in March 2015 and died from this on June 28, 2015 in the RVHSC, where he had been admitted eight days earlier from Altnagelvin Area Hospital.

An inquest at Strabane Court heard that on the day Orin died, a decision had been made by doctors to switch off the machines keeping him alive and "let nature take its course".

Majella McBride, who had been told of this decision, said she left the room and told the doctors: "I want to go to Orin, I want to see him before he leaves this earth" - but insisted she did not consent to the action.

She told the court that when she went to her son's room, the ventilator had been removed and she asked the nurse: "Where is his ventilator, where is his oxygen?" but no one replied.

Five minutes later, Orin was moved to a side room and passed away a short time later in his mother's arms.

Asked directly by coroner Patrick McGurgan if she had given her permission, Ms McBride said: "No. I did not. I don't think it registered with me. I just wanted to be with my son.

"I sat with Orin in my arms until 5.30am so he wouldn't be alone, then they came and took him and kept him for three days."

Ms McBride was asked about notes taken by one doctor which suggested she told the doctors Orin had "fought long enough, just make him comfortable".

Ms McBride denied this, saying: "I did not say any of that, that is lies. I know for a fact I did not say that. [Orin] deserved care he didn't get. He shouldn't be where he is today."

The court heard Orin had been admitted to Altnagelvin on June 17, 2015 where he continued to deteriorate before being transferred to RVHSC.

During this journey, Orin became unconscious and was admitted into the intensive care unit. One doctor caring for Orin in this unit was Dr Mark Terris, a consultant paediatric anaesthetist who was the clinician in charge on June 28.

Dr Terris outlined to the court how gravely ill Orin was and that as well as pancreatitis he was experiencing multiple organ failure.

The doctor told the court the team in Belfast had contacted Glasgow and Leicester hospitals about the possibility of transferring Orin there because they had specialist treatment centres, but that those hospitals did not think Orin was suitable for transfer.

Dr Terris said it was agreed to remove support from Orin and that this agreement included Ms McBride. Asked if he recalled Ms McBride saying her son had fought long and hard and that he should be made comfortable, something noted by a Dr Christie who was also at the meeting, Dr Terris said: "I don't recall [Ms McBride's] exact words but I don't doubt it if that is what Dr Christie wrote. There was agreement that Orin was going to die, with or without us.

"I do recall [Ms McBride] being very upset but I understood it was because of what was going to happen."

Speaking directly to Ms McBride in court, Dr Terris said: "I apologise if that was not clear to you.

"Sadly, Orin was dying and nothing we could have done was going to save him."

The inquest continues today.

Belfast Telegraph

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