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Armagh mum’s seven-year agony as inquest into son’s tragic death finally set to begin

Jennifer McAneney has waited seven years for an inquest into her son Peter's death. Photo: BBC

The mother of a young Armagh man who tragically passed away following a routine ear operation says she doesn’t know if she’ll ever get closure but hopes to finally get answers seven years later.

Jennifer McAneney lost her 21-year-old son Peter in 2012, and at the time criticised the Southern Trust for “failing her son”, following his death just weeks after the operation at Craigavon Area Hospital.

Later this month, Mrs McAneney’s heartbreaking wait for an inquest will finally come to an end, when the coroner’s court sits in Armagh on October 14.

“It has been a very difficult time for us as a family but at the same time it is almost like we are glad it has come around,” Mrs McAneney told Armagh I.

“We thought we would have the inquest much sooner than this, but it was worth the wait, in terms of getting answers.

“I don’t know that we will ever find closure from the loss of Peter because you are permanently damaged for life; the fact we don’t have him around anymore.

“I hope we can find some sort of peace with ourselves and that we can try to come to terms with his death.”

Peter’s death in 2012 sent shockwaves through the community – an active, fit and healthy young man struck down in his prime.

In April that year, Peter was admitted to Craigavon Area Hospital for an inner ear operation to his right ear – a relatively routine procedure.

Peter McAneney

Peter had undergone the procedure on two previous occasions to enhance his hearing and reduce infection.

However, without him having given his consent, he also received a titanium implant to improve his hearing.

But within three weeks Peter was readmitted with ear infections and chest pains.

During an outpatients visit, he was diagnosed with an allergy to iodine.

Despite telling staff that he was allergic to iodine, Peter suffered an adverse reaction when given iodine in preparation for an X-ray.

Peter passed away on May 10.

“We have a lot of sleepless nights and we have had very difficult journeys ourselves as a family,” admitted Mrs McAneney.

“It is very difficult keeping everyone on track; we’ve got two girls older than Peter and it is very hard to keep everybody up. Everyone is trying to protect each other and it is very trying at times.

“We have no choice, so we just have to try and make the most of what we have.”

She added: “I just feel that Peter was in the prime and he loved life and he has been denied that life.

“I have no doubts that had he not gone to have that operation, that he would still be here today.

“I think that the Trust, because of the lack of answers and the long delays in replying at any time, thought that we would go away.

“That was never gonna be the case; over my dead body would that be the case.

“Every mother knows her son and I had the intuition that something was wrong.”

The inquest into Peter’s death begins in Armagh on Monday, October 14, with the family giving evidence on the first day. It is expected to sit all week.

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