HEALTH BOARD: Review ordered after woman’s body lay in mortuary for six weeks

Charlene McGregor, 41, was being treated for a cyst when she died at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

The local  health board has ordered a review after a woman’s body was left in a mortuary Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for six weeks, meaning a post-mortem examination could not determine the cause of death.

Charlene McGregor, 41, died at the  Hospital, which is currently steeped in controversy amid calls for the health board chiefs  to resign, while being treated for a cyst behind her ear on March 12 of this year.

Her brother William McGregor, speaking to the Daily Record, said his sister’s body was left in the mortuary, with staff telling the family they “forgot about her”.

A toxicology screening later carried out by police found Ms McGregor died from a methadone overdose.

“We didn’t have much to do with her because of her drug issues, but she was on a methadone programme and her prescription had been reduced.

“She genuinely seemed to want to take steps away from drugs.  But she shouldn’t have died the way she did and we still don’t know why it happened.

After the family contacted the hospital, an emergency family meeting was called with clinicians, where they were told of the error.

“My partner and my mum went to it and were told: ‘We can’t apologise enough’, that she was still in the mortuary and hadn’t been sent for a post-mortem.

“They said they forgot about her. Right away, the alarm bells started.

“They said because she had been lying there in a freezer for six weeks the post-mortem could come back inconclusive. And that’s exactly what happened.

“I can’t help wondering: if we hadn’t contacted them, would my sister still be lying there?”

Mr McGregor also questioned whether the delay had been deliberate and suggested a mistake may have been made in giving his sister – who had struggled with addiction but was taking steps towards recovery – the methadone that ultimately killed her.

“A Significant Adverse Event Review (SAER) is under way into the circumstances surrounding Ms McGregor’s death.

“We met earlier this year with her family to apologise for the delay in the post-mortem examination taking place and issues around her death registration.

“We will contact the family when the SAER is concluded and offer to meet with them to explain its findings.”

Lamara Bell, 25, and her partner John Yuill, 28, died after their car left the motorway near Stirling on July 5, 2015.

Despite a call to Police Scotland, it took three days for the force to respond and when officers finally arrived at the scene, Mr Yuill was found to be dead while Mrs Bell died four days later in hospital.

Crown counsel has now formally instructed that there should be a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) to examine the full circumstances surrounding their deaths.

It follows an investigation and criminal prosecution against the Office of the Chief Constable of Police Scotland.

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