Five-year-old Yusuf Mahmud Nazir, who died after being sent home from hospital as a result of a bed shortage could have survived had staff paid attention to his relatives, the youngster’s uncle has said. Zaheer Ahmed said he had pleaded with staff at Rotherham General Hospital to treat Yusuf’s sore throat with intravenous antibiotics.
He told Sky News he also “begged and begged” for his nephew to be admitted, only to be told: “There are no beds and not enough doctors”.
Yusuf died of pneumonia on Monday. It is reported that an infection had spread to his lungs and caused multiple organ failures resulting in several cardiac arrests, with Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust subsequently launching an investigation into the care he received.
After complaining of a sore throat on November 13, Yusaf was taken by his parents to their GP, who prescribed antibiotics.
The following day, they drove him to the emergency department of Rotherham General Hospital when his condition did not improve.
The family waited for hours before Yusuf was seen but he was sent home even though the doctor treating him had said “it was the worst case of tonsillitis he had ever seen”, according to Mr Ahmed.
By this stage the little boy was distressed, struggling to breathe and unable to swallow, his family say.
Yusuf’s condition deteriorated while he was at home and his parents called an ambulance and insisted he was taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Mr Ahmed said: “If they would have treated him where we wanted him to be treated he would be here with us now.
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“I want to assure families that we have an appropriately staffed medical paediatric service that provide support to our medical colleagues working within our Urgent Emergency Care Centre when required.
“We, like other district general hospitals in the South Yorkshire region, do not provide paediatric intensive care beds.
“The Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is a specialist trust who do provide paediatric intensive care beds.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “All children deserve the highest levels of care and we are taking urgent action to ensure no families have to experience these kinds of tragedies.
“Last week we announced up to £8 billion for health and social care in 2024/25 and we’re giving an extra £500 million to speed up hospital discharge and free up beds, ensuring people are only in hospital for as long as they need to be.
“The NHS is also creating the equivalent of 7,000 more beds this winter – enabling hospitals to treat patients sooner, including by using remote monitoring to provide care at home or in the community.”