An infection "probably" linked to Glasgow's children's hospital was the "primary cause of death" of a young cancer patient, an investigation has found.

Infections from contaminated water at the hospital were also found to have been an "important contributory factor" in another child's death, the BBC has reported.

A case note review, which is due to be published on Monday, looked into the cases of 84 children who developed infections while undergoing treatment at the hospital and found that a third of infections "probably" originated in the hospital and the rest were possibly acquired there.

Families of patients referred to in the review were given sight of an embargoed copy of the report ahead of its publication.

The report does not name the child who died but Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said he had spoken to Kimberley Darroch who believes the patient referenced is her daughter, Milly Main.


The 10-year-old, who had leukaemia, underwent a successful stem cell transplant in July 2017 and was making a good recovery when the following month her Hickman line, a catheter used to administer drugs, became infected. Milly went into toxic shock and died some days later.

Her death certificate lists a Stenotrophomonas infection of the Hickman line among the possible causes of death.

The health board previously insisted it was impossible to determine the source of Milly's infection because there was no requirement to test the water supply at the time.

READ MORE: Inquiry into hospital incidents calls on families to share their experiences 

The review looked at how many children were affected by a particular type of serious infection caused by Gram-negative environmental (GNE) bacteria between 2015 and 2019.

The review is said to state that the child was in the very early phase of a stem cell transplant and that a bacterial infection was the "primary cause of death".

It states that although disease progress was a major factor it judged that GNE bacterium was a "significant factor" in the cause of death. It says the infection was "probably" related to the hospital environment.


A further child death was noted to have occurred within six weeks of an infection episode. The bacterium was said to be "implicated" in the death. It was recorded as possible contributory factor in the death certificate.

Mrs Daroch said: "There is nothing that can bring Milly back and a tiny part of me still hoped that the link to the water supply wasn’t true.

“Finally we are starting to get answers after all these years.

“If it wasn’t for the whistleblowers who came forward and Anas raising this in Parliament, we would have never known what caused Milly’s death.

“This has been a difficult time for us and we will need to come to terms with this as a family.”

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The review, which looked at 84 children and 118 episodes of infection, was commissioned by the health secretary as part of wider investigations into problems with the drainage and ventilation system at the £850m Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus, which includes the Royal Hospital for Children.

An official probe found "widespread contamination" in the water supply, with at least 23 children contracting bloodstream infections in the cancer wards in 2018.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was placed in special measures in November 2019 and in January last year two experts were appointed to oversee a review of infections.

The report was critical of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for not having a system in place that would have helped establish whether there was a link between bacteria in a patient and the place where they were treated.

READ MORE: Families 'failed by secrecy' over confidential QEUH evidence

Anas Sarwar MSP said: “This has been a long and painful journey for the families involved, and my thoughts are with Kimberly and everyone who loved Milly.

“I pay tribute once again to the brave NHS whistleblowers who put their jobs on the line to expose the truth and overcame repeated cover-up attempts by the hospital management.

“The Scottish Government now has a duty to support all the families affected at this sad time.”
A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: "Families of patients referred to in the Case Note Review have been provided an embargoed copy of the report ahead of its publication on Monday.

"This is to allow families to reflect on its contents before it is available to the public.

"We fully respect this and we will respond when the report is published on Monday."