‘We are extremely disappointed’: Parents of girl, 12, who died after hospital ‘failings’ vent frustration to coroner over inquest delays

Parents who are ‘fighting for answers’ after their daughter died following ‘failings’ at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital vented their frustration after an inquest into her death was again delayed.

However, in response to a coroner promised a ‘full and fearless inquiry’ into the death of 12-year-old Victoria Olabode.

Victoria died at the hospital in July 2019.

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She suffered from sickle cell disease and had been admitted to the hospital that month with breathing difficulties.

Manchester Coroners’ Court previously heard that the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) – which runs the hospital – has identified and accepted ‘failings’ in Victoria’s care.

An inquest into her death was due to take place today (Tuesday, February 1).

However, it was halted before it started due to an expert witness falling ill.

The hearing, which was changed to a pre-inquest review by Area Coroner Zak Golombeck, heard the witness’ condition meant she would not be able to give evidence for between three and six months.

The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospitskl (RMCH) has already accepted ‘failings’ in relation to Victoria’s care

And Mr Golombeck said his office would now need to instruct a new expert pediatric neuroradiologist and consider their findings before the inquest could proceed.

However, Victoria’s family expressed their anger at the latest delay.

An inquest was originally due to be held in April last year however it was delayed then after an internal investigation report by the trust was found to be ‘erroneous.’

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At a previous hearing, Victoria’s parents said delays had left them ‘traumatized’ and ‘stressed.’

Her father, Victor Olabode, who along was with his wife was wearing a t-shirt containing a picture of his daughter, asked Mr Golombeck if he was a father during discussions over the delay at today’s hearing.

“We are extremely disappointed,” he said.

“I wanted an apology from the court about the delay and I did not receive that.

“If I don’t get justice for my daughter we will go on and move this to a higher court.”

Whilst his wife, Victoria’s mother Elizabeth Olabode said: “We are not going to accept any further delays.

“We are at a crucial stage.

“They need to bring forward any issues now. If they do it one week, or two days before the inquest, that should is not allowed.

“I am the mother of Victoria and I have said it is not allowed.”

Mr Golombeck said he did have two children but said whether he was a father or not was ‘irrelevant’ to the inquiry as he had to conduct inquests in an ‘independent and impartial way’ and that ‘I would come to the same decisions if I was a parent or not.”

The inquest was originally due to be heard last April – and has now been delayed again

However, he said “that does strengthen my understanding of what are you going through.”

The information regarding the doctor’s condition was only received in the last fortnight, he said.

He also said the witnesses’ ‘credibility’ had been raised by the trust but that in itself was not the cause of the delay, which he said was due to their health and their availability.

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“It’s a disappointment to me that we cannot proceed with the evidence today, and I was hopeful a way could be found to still proceed,” he told Mr and Mrs Olabode.

“I am very sorry to you and your wife that we cannot proceed.

“But these matters were out of my control, and out of the control of my office, the trust, and your legal representatives.

“They relate to confidential and sensitive matters, and that is the position.

“So I am of course sorry to you, knowing how hard you have fought for answers relating to Victoria’s death.

“But I have a duty to consider the legal position.

“I apologize if that’s caused any offense or disappointment to you, as that’s not something I would want for any person part of inquest proceedings.”

He added: “I will conduct a full and fearless inquiry into Victoria’s death as I would for any individual, child or adult.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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