Independent inquiry over death of boy, 5, sent home from hospital

An independent investigation is being launched into the death of a five-year-old boy whose family say he died from pneumonia after he was sent home from hospital because there were “no beds”.

Yusuf Mahmud Nazir died on 23 November after an infection reportedly spread to his lungs and caused multiple organ failure, resulting in several cardiac arrests.

The boy had complained of a sore throat on 13 November and his parents took him to their GP, who prescribed antibiotics.

They drove him to the emergency department of Rotherham general hospital in South Yorkshire the next day when his condition did not improve.

The family waited for hours before Yusuf was seen but he was sent home despite the doctor treating him saying “it was the worst case of tonsillitis he had ever seen”, according to his uncle Zaheer Ahmed.

The boy was distressed, struggling to breathe and could not swallow, his family say.

Yusuf’s condition worsened while he was at home and his parents called an ambulance and he was taken to Sheffield Children’s hospital. However, his condition deteriorated and he died.

Ahmed told Sky News on Saturday that he “begged and begged” for his nephew to be admitted to Rotherham general hospital but was told “there are no beds and not enough doctors”.

Labour MP Sarah Champion, who represents the family’s constituency in Rotherham, said the inquiry needs to find out “what went so horribly wrong”.

She said: “The Nazir family have been very clear they want no other family to suffer the death of a child in such appalling circumstances. We need to quickly find out what went so horribly wrong. I have worked with them to secure a rapid and independent inquiry.

“We need to make sure the inquiry covers the primary and secondary care organisations involved in Yusuf’s diagnosis, care and treatment.”

Champion added that she has been assured an independent investigation is being launched.

She said: “I have been assured by the chief executive of Rotherham NHS foundation trust that an independent investigation is being launched and I will be supporting Yusuf’s family to ensure that it fully investigates their concerns.

“The circumstances of Yusuf’s death are deeply troubling. It is vital that the investigation considers the role of each organisation involved in his care and, crucially, communication and coordination between them. We need [to] ensure that changes are made to prevent this from ever happening again.

“I will be doing all that I can to continue supporting Yusuf’s family at this extremely difficult time and make sure their wishes are respected.”

Ahmed told Sky News he wants a “full independent investigation out of the NHS”.

The boy’s uncle said the health service “want to do an external investigation by someone from the NHS outside of the district”, adding: “We are still in the talks and we are requesting that it is completely external.”

The Hospital chief executive, Dr Richard Jenkins, who met Ahmed and apologised to him and the family, said investigators from outside South Yorkshire would review his care, the BBC reported.

In a letter to Champion, Jenkins said he was working with NHS England to “identify appropriate independent investigators”.

He said: “It is vital that a thorough and independently conducted investigation takes place as soon as possible so the family can have answers to their concerns and we can identify where changes need to be made.”

He said the family would be involved in deciding the terms of reference for the investigation.