Five year old boy died after being sent home from hospital

Leonie Millard
Leonie Millard

Published: December 2nd, 2022

7 min read

Yusuf Mahmud Nazir passed away in November 2022 when he was wrongly sent home from Rotherham General Hospital with "the worst case of tonsilitis" that the treating doctor had ever seen. Yusuf and his uncle were told that there were no beds and not enough doctors at the hospital, so they could not admit him. When Yusuf returned home, his throat infection got worse. He was eventually taken to Sheffield Children's Hospital by ambulance, but tragically it was too late to save the five year old's life.

The infection had spread to Yusuf's lungs and caused multiple organ failure and numerous cardiac arrests. He died of pneumonia on 21 November 2022. The chief executive of Rotherham General Hospital, Dr Richard Jenkins, has met with Yusuf's family and apologised, acknowledging that mistakes were made.

Since Yusuf's death, the hospital has brought in another paediatric doctor to work in the Accident and Emergency department, in an attempt to cut the waiting times and provide more resources for children at the hospital. On the evening that Yusuf was examined at Rotherham General Hospital, there were 93 children in A&E and one doctor.

Yusuf first complained of a sore throat on 13 November 2022, when he was taken to the GP. The GP prescribed antibiotics, but these did not improve his condition. The next day, Yusuf's parents drove him to Rotherham General Hospital's emergency department, when he was initially examined and informed that he could not be admitted due to a lack of available beds and doctors.

On 18 November 2022, Yusuf was unable to speak, eat or drink, and was taken by ambulance to Sheffield Children's Hospital. He was given intravenous antibiotics, but sadly his condition deteriorated and he could not be saved.

Investigation

Dr Jenkins, Rotherham General Hospital's chief executive, has confirmed that a "thorough and independently conducted investigation" will take place as soon as possible, in order to identify the areas of failure that contributed to Yusuf's death. Hospital executives are liaising with NHS England in order to identify a suitable team of independent investigators from outside the South Yorkshire area.

However, Yusuf's family are not satisfied with this response, stating that their wish is for the investigation to be conducted by a body completely external to the NHS. At the time of writing, the family are in talks with the NHS putting forward their arguments for this, but it is unclear as to whether or not this will be accommodated.

Pressures on the NHS

The NHS is currently experiencing some of the most severe pressures it has faced in its 70 year history. Years of chronic understaffing and poor retention of staff has been driven by under resourcing and inadequate workforce planning, leading to a largely insufficient number of clinical staff available to treat the number of patients within the NHS care system. NHS organisations are also lacking building space within which to admit patients or train new doctors. It is factors such as these that unfortunately prevent NHS staff from delivering the care that they would like to. Sadly, these are prominent factors in the tragic events that led to the death of Yusuf Mahmud Nazir.

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