Mother of Adam Strain speaks of heartache as doctor struck off

The mother of Adam Strain has spoken of her heartache, saying "when Adam died, most of me died with him".

It comes as a doctor who attempted to cover up the true circumstances of the four-year-old's death in hospital 27 years ago was struck off.

A medical tribunal found consultant paediatric anaesthetist Dr Robert Taylor dishonestly misled police and a public inquiry about his treatment of Adam Strain.

Adam's mother Deborah Slevin told UTV she "finally thinks, in a way, we have justice for Adam".

She said: "It ruined my life. It completely ruined my life. We knew all along that things weren't right. That he wasn't telling the full story or any kind of story that made sense."

Adam Strain was undergoing a kidney transplant at the Royal Victoria Hospital in 1995 but sadly he didn't survive the surgery.

During the operation Adam was given too much of the wrong fluid, too quickly.

Six months later an inquest ruled Adam died from cerebral oedema - brain swelling - partly due to the onset of dilutional hyponatraemia, which occurs when there is a shortage of sodium in the bloodstream.

Two expert anaesthetists told the coroner that the administration of an excess volume of fluids containing small amounts of sodium caused the hyponatraemia.

But Dr Taylor resisted any criticism of his fluid management and refused to accept the condition had been caused by his administration of too much of the wrong type of fluid.

In 2004 a UTV documentary When Hospitals Kill raised concerns about the treatment of a number of children, including Adam, and led to the launch of the Hyponatraemia Inquiry.

Dr Taylor maintained his stance in a statement to the inquiry in 2005 and in an interview in 2006 with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), who were investigating Adam's death.

It was not until 2012 that he finally accepted, ahead of giving evidence to the public inquiry, that fluid mismanagement had led to Adam's death, a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing was told.

The MPTS tribunal found Dr Taylor acted dishonestly on four occasions in his dealings with the the public inquiry and PSNI, including failing to disclose to the inquiry a number of clinical errors he made and falsely claiming to detectives he spoke to Adam's mother before surgery.

It did not find Dr Taylor acted dishonestly in his evidence at the inquest but said he failed to disclose highly relevant information.

The tribunal determined that his dishonest conduct was "an attempt to cover up the truth and mislead both the inquiry and PSNI" and had impaired his fitness to practise, along with his disclosure failure at the inquest.

Dr Taylor did not attend the virtual hearing and has said he has retired.

Announcing Dr Taylor's erasure from the medical register, tribunal chair Graham White said: "The tribunal was satisfied that in the absence of any evidence of insight into and remediation of his dishonesty, there is a real risk of repetition.

"The inquest, inquiry and police investigation were all seeking to establish, in the public interest, how and why Patient A (Adam) had died and to learn lessons from his death.

"The tribunal has determined that Dr Taylor had a professional duty of candour to explain his actions and to assist in each inquiry.

"He failed to comply with that duty, repeatedly seeking to evade responsibility. Worse he lied. In doing so, he plainly demonstrated a blatant disregard for safeguards designed to protect members of the public and the wider public interest.

"Therefore, the tribunal concluded that no lesser sanction than erasure would adequately promote and maintain public confidence in the medical profession and promote and maintain proper professional standards and conduct for members of that profession."