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Raychel's Law

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Raychel's Law - A statutory duty of candour for health professionals in Northern Ireland.

On the 10th of June 2001 at 12.09 i had lost my only daughter Raychel at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.  Raychel was the only daughter of myself Marie and her father Raymond.

Raychel died as a result of the negligent care received at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.

I remember when the nurse first told me I had a baby girl. It was the happiest day of our lives. Raychel meant the world to us. We loved her so much. She was like a wee mother to her brothers, Stephen, Jason and Jamie. 

Raychel  was happy, caring, not a worry in the world and very bright. She loved animals so much. She said when she grows up that she was going to be a vet and if she had loads of money she would give it to the poor people.

That whole week before Raychels death she was looking forward to planning all the things we should be doing for her daddy's birthday on June 9. Sadly that day never happened.

No one could understand the aftermath of Raychel's death, the nights I had to spend consoling her three brothers, answering questions like who was going to cut her hair and nails.

Four weeks after her death it was her brother's birthday and we had to go to the grave and push down sweets and leave her cake. Every night for years we all as a family went to the grave at 8pm every night, hail, rain or snow, and stay until 9pm because that was bedtime.

My three sons have suffered tremendously. Not only did they lose their sister but they lost out on their mother and a normal childhood. Something as simple as going to the park did not happen because of the guilt I was feeling and how could we enjoy ourselves and Raychel lying in the cemetery?

At that time my whole world had fallen apart, with Ray wanting to be with Raychel and with three young children who could not understand why Raychel was not here anymore and trying to deal with the shock and pain.

We have never come to terms with her needless death as we have spent 16 years fighting instead of grieving.

On the morning of June 10, we were told that Raychel's life support machine would have to be switched off as Raychel would never recover. I know that no one could possibly imagine how you could ever be ready to face something as horrific as this.

I knew in my heart I had to do this but did not know how I could ever say I was ready to give up my daughter. I sat on a chair with Ray beside me. The nurse lifted Raychel out on to my knee, my three sons sitting around us crying.

I begged Raychel to please wake up, this was her last chance, but this did not happen. The nurse nodded and I nodded back and there before me I watched Raychel's wee pink rosy cheeks slowly turn white and her wee nails turn blue and it was all over.

I made Raychel a promise the day her coffin was closed and she left home for the last time that I would not stop until I got to the truth of what robbed me of the most precious wee girl of my life.

Having fought for 16 years and now received the report from the Hyponatraemia Inquiry detailing the neglect, failure, cover up, lack of organisational control, with holding of information and the catastrophic events Raychel was subject to in the finals day of her life i believe a statutory duty of candour should be introduced in Northern Ireland so that if anything drastic like this happens again that those health professionals and their lawyers cannot  conceal the truth and cover up the death. 

Raychel's Law would be a fitting tribute to my only daughter Raychel. 


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