Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Blaming system for Janine's death 'is not enough'


Stephen and his wife Janine on their wedding day.

Stephen and his wife Janine on their wedding day.

THE HUSBAND of Janine Murtagh, the Crumlin woman who died after a routine bowel operation at the Royal Victoria Hospital in October 2002, has said he will continue to seek answers on why she lost her life.

Stephen Murtagh was speaking after a Department of Health report last week found doctors had failed to respond promptly to early warning signs that the condition of the 31-year-olc nurse was deteriorating. It said she had died due to a 'systems failure' and no individual could be held to account for her death.

There have now been two reports and an inquest into Janine's death. A report commissioned by former Health Minister Angela Smith by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority made a total of 11 recommendations to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

But speaking after meeting senior Department of Health civil servant Dr Andrew McCormick, Mr Murtagh said he wanted an acknowledgement that it was not just a 'systems failure.'

And he said he would like to see those who had been involved given retraining to prevent the possibility of a repeat.

"We will pursue this and will continue to pursue this and will be meeting with the Minister if we do not get answers" he said. "This was not only a failure of a delivery of care for Janine but it is about a delivery of care for other women in the future. It is all about trust and that trust was broken with Janine.

"This has been going on now for six years and we are entitled to answers. These major concerns have still not been answered.

It is causing further distress and makes a difficult situation even more difficult." Mr Murtagh is planning to meet Health Minister Michael McGimpsey later this year.

"We have no choice but to pursue this for the sake of Janine," he said. "Janine's family and I are a very determined bunch of people. We know what happened to Janine but issues have to be made public."

The Royal Victoria Hospital has previously apologised for the death of Mrs Murtagh, who was a nurse at the hospital.


Ulster Star