Boy sues hospital where mother and unborn sister died

Colin and his father are suing Raigmore hospital after his mother Donna and his unborn sister died

AN 11-year-old boy is suing a Scottish hospital for more than £220,000 over the tragic death of his mother and unborn baby sister within hours of each other.

Colin McIvor and his father, Sinclair, are suing Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, for negligence.

They claim medics made a string of errors which contributed to the deaths of Donna, 39, and stillborn Linsey.

Raigmore, which has been the centre of several controversies over the years, denies the claims and the case is set for a bitter public battle.

According to papers lodged at the Court of Session, Colin and Sinclair, 60, from Inverness, have been “traumatised” by the tragedy and the loss of a “close and loving” relationship.

Mrs McIvor was full term when she was admitted to the hospital in March 2007 with a suspected urine infection, according to the legal papers.

It was discovered the mother was suffering from acute pancreatitis and a scan then found baby Linsey had died in the uterus of asphyxia.

Mrs McIvor’s condition then deteriorated and she died the following day.


According to the court papers, Mrs McIvor’s history of blood-related problems, meant the mother was at risk of developing acute pancreatitis during pregnancy and losing her baby.

A physician wrote a letter to Mrs McIvor, who also suffered from learning difficulties, before she knew she was expecting for a second time informing her she was a high-risk.

But her medical history was not recorded in her maternity records when it should have been, lawyers claim.

Hospital medics also failed to manage the overweight mother’s diet or provide her with medication to control her condition, lawyers say.

Months before her due date the school kitchen assistant, who suffered from learning difficulties, was ‘wrongly’ discharged from the hospital’s antenatal unit on the same day she was admitted for suffering abdominal pain, lawyers claim.

And when she was admitted to hospital in March 2007 she was diagnosed with having a urinary infection, it is alleged.

But had tests been done medics would have found that Mrs McIvor was not suffering from a urine infection, it is claimed.

Doctors later found she was suffering from acute pancreatitis and discovered that her baby was dead inside the womb, according to court papers.

Perfect baby

At the time of the pair’s death, Mr McIvor, who was unavailable to comment on the case, related his grief to local newspaper The Highland News in the weeks after their death.

He said losing them both was “unbearable”.

“Donna did not even get to see Linsey. She was so beautiful. She was perfect, a gorgeous wee baby,” he said.

“Donna was a fun-loving, wonderful woman who lived life to the full. I just wish she was here right now. I will miss her so much – there is just no sense in this.

“I have got be strong for Colin.”

But in the months after the death the tragedy-hit father went to collect his son from school while drunk.

Mr McIvor ended up in court and admitted a breach of the peace charge after he had an angry confrontation with Colin’s headteacher.

He became abusive and started swearing after the teacher insisted he was unfit to take the child.
He got drunk after items were stolen from Donna’s grave.

Now both Colin and his father are asking for £100,000 compensation each for the death of Mrs McIvor.

And in a separate claim Mr McIvor is seeking £20,000 in damages for the death of Linsey.

Raigmore is no stranger to controversy. Deadly hospital bug C difficile was found to be a contributory factor to the death of a woman patient there in October last year.

Tragic mistakes

And after an unannounced visit from the Health Environment Inspectorate in March this year inspectors highlighted several areas of the hospital which needed improvement.

A regular mattress audit and a rota for changing curtains were recommended by the body. Though it also said the hospital was clean and well maintained.

In August this year it was reported that nurses were complaining of suffering from painful skin condition dermatitis due to washing their hands so often with soap.

Dr Jean Turner, who is the executive director of the Scottish Patients Association, said she did not want to comment on the specifics of the case. But, she added: “It could be the system that’s wrong compared to the individuals in it. You want continuity of care and you want everybody to be linking up with everybody else. There’s a general trend that doctors and nurses are constantly under pressure.”

Emma Boon, campaign director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said : “Tragic mistakes do happen but when they do there has to be a careful examination of what went wrong so that dreadful incidents like this never happen again. Many compensation claims are because of human error or negligence, avoiding mistakes would save lives and cash. Taxpayers’ money that goes on NHS compensation pay-outs is money that could have been saved or spent on patient care so it’s important for everyone that these payments do not get out of control.”

NHS Highland deny the negligence claims, according to court papers.