Girl, 10, who was in remission from leukaemia died after ‘probably’ catching water-linked bug in hospital

Milly Main died in 2017 after contracting an infection in hospital – now a review has concluded that this was “probably” linked to water contamination

Kimberly Darroch said it was "like grieving Milly in a whole new way, knowing her death could have been prevented" (Photos: UGC/PA)

A 10-year-old girl died after catching an infection that was “probably” caused by the environment at the hospital she was in, a review has found.

Milly Main died in 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow after contracting an infection and going into toxic shock, which her mother Kimberly Darroch has repeatedly said was caused by contaminated water in the hospital.

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Milly had been in remission from leukaemia when her catheter became infected.

Now, an independent expert panel has shared the findings of a case review with Ms Darroch, which failed to say conclusively that the infection was caused by the hospital environment, but said it was “probably” the case.

“Based on the information available to us we considered that this infection was probably related to the hospital environment,” the review said.

“Factors in our decision included the clustering in time and space with another case (which occurred 10 days earlier in the same ward).

“The fact that Milly had been continuously an inpatient in Ward 2A for seven weeks prior to this infection also suggests hospital environmental acquisition.”

The review said some have argued that tests “showed no relationship” between Milly’s infection and that of the other patient mentioned, but the panel goes on to say the lack of a match “cannot exclude environmental acquisition as more than one strain of the same bacterium could have been present”.

‘Devastating’

Speaking to the Daily Record after the review, Ms Darroch said: “It was like grieving Milly in a whole new way, knowing her death could have been prevented.

“I always hoped it probably wasn’t true. Deep down in my heart I knew it was, so getting it in black and white, it was a devastating read.

“I am 100% certain Milly’s infection came from the water.”

Jane Grant, the chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “We continue to offer our sympathies to Milly Main’s family for their loss and are sorry for any additional distress caused.

“This has been a very challenging time for patients, families and staff and I am truly sorry for this.

“For families, children and young people, undergoing cancer treatment is already an incredibly difficult situation and I am sorry for any further upset they have experienced.

“Whilst we have taken robust and focused action to respond to issues, and at all times have made the best judgments we could, we accept that there are times when we should have done things differently.”

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Public inquiry

Due to issues with the construction of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh and problems at the QEUH, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman launched a public inquiry.

Ms Grant added: “The issues which arise will be part of the Scottish Hospitals Public Inquiry. The board welcomes the inquiry and will participate fully in that process.

“We remain committed to supporting patients and their families, particularly those whose lives have been impacted upon by the areas that will be examined by the public inquiry.”

Ms Darroch called for the board to resign, adding she “still feels like they’re not taking responsibility even though they say they have”.

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