The mother of a two-year-old boy who died after medics missed five opportunities to spot pneumonia today called for national improvements in the care of young children.
Mus’ab Hamid was sent home by a GP, A&E doctors at Northwick Park hospital and a locum GP at the privately run adjacent urgent care centre over five days despite worsening symptoms.
Coroner Andrew Walker said it was “likely” that if Mus’ab had been admitted to hospital “he would have been recognised as seriously unwell earlier and he would not have died when he did”.
His mother Asha Abdullah, 21, from Neasden, said: “A part of me died with my son. He was my only child, my world and he died needlessly. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t do something to highlight what happened and to try to make changes so other families don’t have to go through the same loss.
“It is heart-breaking to know that had things been done differently, he’d probably still be here. On the last occasion that I was sent home with him he was really sick. He had never been so ill, but I wasn’t told what to look out for.”
The coroner issued Harrow clinical commissioning group, which pays Greenbrook Healthcare to run the UCC, with a prevention of future deaths report.
All children under five seen at a UCC in north-west London who have previously been assessed by doctors twice in five days are now referred for a paediatrician’s review.
Ms Abdullah, who is bringing a civil claim for negligence against the locum GP who was the last to see her son at the UCC, wants the protocol rolled out nationwide.
Her lawyer Jodi Newton, of Hudgell Solicitors, said: “The only possible positive outcome from the heart-breaking loss of Mus’ab has been his mother’s determination to get answers and bring about changes in healthcare which will, without doubt, prevent more children dying. Changes should not be limited to a local level. Lives can be saved nationally.”
Ms Abdullah had first taken Mus’ab, who had a fever and had not eaten, to a GP on January 22 last year. She was told to take him to A&E where he was diagnosed with a virus and sent home. She returned to the GP three days later and was given ibuprofen and paracetamol.
With Mus’ab struggling to breathe, she returned to the A&E the next day, January 26, but was sent to the UCC, where the locum doctor decided, without checking his blood pressure or levels of dehydration, that he was not seriously ill and sent him home.
The following day she called an ambulance but he could not be saved and died from cardiac arrest. Mus’ab had not received childhood pneumococcal vaccines, which the coroner said would probably have protected him from the infection that caused pneumonia.
Dr Sally Johnson, medical director for Greenbrook Healthcare and Dr Charles Cayley, medical director from London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, said the new policy for children under-five had been in place since December 2016. They added: “It is our aim and our wish to ensure that events such as these never happen again.”