12 May, 2022

Determination by Sheriff Principal Duncan L Murray WS in the FAI into the death of Fearne Adger [2022] FAI 18

Fatal Accident Inquiry before Sheriff Principal Murray into the death of 8-month old Fearne Adger at Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley on 29 April 2017. The inquiry heard evidence over nine days. Fearne had presented to hospital with symptoms diagnosed as gastroenteritis and was only admitted on her third presentation. Several hours after her admission, she suffered a sudden cardiac event and died.

Whilst there were recognised failings in Fearne’s care, the submission on behalf of Greater Glasgow Health Board was that the cause of death was disseminated parechovirus infection which gave rise to myocarditis, which in turn gave rise to a fatal cardiac arrhythmia. There was no other contributing cause of death. This cause of death was not predictable from the clinical information and was not avoidable. Disseminated parechovirus was only identified on post-mortem. Despite contrary submissions by the Crown and the family on the basis of their expert evidence, the Sheriff Principal accepted the submission on behalf of the Board as to the cause of death. He also concluded that there were no reasonable precautions which might have avoided the death, nor were there defects in the system of working which contributed to the death, in terms of sections 26(2)(e) and 26(2)(f) of the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Etc (Scotland) Act 2016. He made no recommendations in terms of s26(1)(b) of the Act.

The determination can be found here.

Ampersand’s Una Doherty QC acted for Greater Glasgow Health Board.

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