A five-year-old boy who died after being sent home from a hospital could have been saved if he was treated earlier, his family has claimed.
Yusuf Mahmud Nazir’s uncle said he had “begged” staff at Rotherham Hospital to treat his nephew’s severe throat infection with intravenous antibiotics.
He said he was told the children’s ward had “not got the doctors” and “not got the beds”. Yusuf died on Monday.
The hospital trust has begun an investigation into what happened.
Zaheer Ahmed said Yusuf fell ill with a sore throat on 13 November. The following day he went to his GP and was prescribed antibiotics.
When the boy’s condition worsened he was taken to Rotherham Hospital in South Yorkshire.
Despite the diagnosis, he was not admitted to the hospital.
When Yusuf’s condition continued to deteriorate, Mr. Ahmed claimed he called the hospital’s pediatric ward.
He claimed, “We were pleading with them for assistance.
“I pleaded with you to assist me since I have no one else to turn to. He needs IV antibiotics since he has respiratory problems.
“They were unwilling to learn. They simply stated, “We don’t have the beds or the doctors.” I am unable to create a bed out of thin air.
I responded, “Yeah, but he needs this treatment. We have lines of kids waiting; it’s not just your child.
“‘So do other children – that’s exactly the response I got.”
The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust later said its hospital does not provide pediatric intensive care beds.
Two days later, Yusuf was unable to speak, eat or drink so was taken by ambulance to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
After being given intravenous antibiotics, Mr. Ahmed said his nephew seemed to improve and started drinking and eating again. However, his condition deteriorated and he died.
“The infection – what should have been treated in Rotherham – just spread to his chest, spread to his lungs… organ failures and just taken his life from there,” said the boy’s uncle.
“If he had got IV antibiotics, he would have been here. He would have be playing with us now if he got that when I begged them.”
Mr. Ahmed said the family wanted answers from the hospital and the government to prevent future deaths.
“I don’t know if it would have been a different situation if they did have the beds or weren’t overwhelmed,” he said.
The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive, Dr. Richard Jenkins, expressed his “sincere condolences to Yusuf’s family.”
Yusuf’s treatment is the subject of a thorough investigation that has begun, he added, adding that Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust would be consulted.
“I want to reassure the families that our Urgent Emergency Care Center has a properly staffed medical pediatric service that, if needed, supports our medical colleagues there.
“We don’t have any pediatric intensive care beds, unlike other district general hospitals in the South Yorkshire area.
A specialized trust that offers pediatric intensive care beds is The Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
“All children deserve the highest levels of care, and we are acting urgently to ensure that no families have to endure these kinds of tragedies,” a representative for the Department of Health and Social Care said.
“Last week we announced up to £8 billion for health and social care in 2024–2025, and we’re offering an extra £ 500 million to speed up hospital discharge and free up beds, ensuring people are only in hospitals for as long as they need to be,” said the spokesperson.