Man lashes out at hospital after daughter, 4, dies of sepsis

Calderdale Royal Hospital
Calderdale Royal Hospital

A father has blamed hospital staff for the death of his four-year-old daughter who died from sepsis after originally visiting Calderdale Royal Hospital with a sore throat, an inquest heard.

Mahun Ahmed was left severely dehydrated after not being able to eat anything for three days leading up to her death due to a series of bacterial infections.

She was also suffering from a streptococcal infection, known as strep throat, and swollen lymph nodes that prevented her from swallowing fluids and she hadn’t urinated for three days.

Doctors’ unwillingness to put her on a drip at first because she didn’t “seem to be a very sick child” also resulted in her not being treated for dehydration for eight hours, the coroner heard.

The inquest at Bradford Coroners’ Court, heard how Mahun and her family spent four hours in A&E at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, on December 1, 2015, before then being transferred to pediatrics.

She first visited the hospital in the early hours of the day before (November 30), where she was prescribed with a 10 day course of antibiotics and a throat spray to help her swallow - treatment which was presumed to be helping..

It would be 36 hours before she received more antibiotics however, with a further dose only following when she was “clearly critically unwell”, with the youngster tragically dying in the early hours of December 2.

The little girl’s father, Waqar Ahmed told the court that he blamed the hospital for his daughter’s death - insisting that doctors had “not taken her condition seriously”.

He said: “On December 1 she was sitting in A&E dehydrated when she should’ve been on fluids.

“She started screaming in pain, so we knew something was seriously wrong as she was never like that, but the nurses didn’t take it seriously and told her to be quiet.

“I want to know why they didn’t take it seriously and why these mistakes were made.

“I want to know why there was no doctors available until she was dying and then they all started appearing.

“The fact my daughter is dead is the hospital’s fault and I want answers.”

Doctor Chamika Mapatuna treated Mahun when she arrived at A&E on November 30 and insisted that, although she had developed an increased heart rate, she seemed “normal” and didn’t appear to be critically unwell.

He said: “She was clearly unwell but I didn’t see her as a very sick child.

“She seemed to be responding well to the treatment and I thought she needed a further period of observation, so I referred her to paediatrics

“How she was behaving on her mother’s lap was quite normal from my experience for someone with a sore throat.

“I didn’t know that she had only been given one dose of antibiotics at that point.

“And I was surprised to hear about what happened as he didn’t see her as such an ill, unwell child.”

Sepsis is a serious complication of an infection that can lead to multiple organ failure if not treated quickly.

And with staff waiting until 10.15pm - nearly seven hours after arrival at the hospital - to provide Mahun with more antibiotics and to take a blood test, due to problems with the machine, one doctor admitted to the inquest than “an opportunity was missed” to properly treat the child.

Dr Karen Bartholomew, from Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, said: “Up to the point that she collapsed, she wasn’t deemed to be suffering a life-threatening condition.

“Blood pressure measurement in a child of that age is not straight forward and can be difficult to achieve.

“But the fact that she hadn’t passed urine for three days, I would’ve felt that the alarm bells should’ve been ringing.

“She was only given more antibiotics when she was looking critically ill.

“I feel that an opportunity was missed in those four hours in A&E to alleviate the situation.”

Recording a verdict of natural causes, assistant coroner Oliver Longstaff said: “There are a number of elements to this case that are concerning, one of which is the length of time the events unfolded.

“This is an amount of time when something else could’ve been done, that wasn’t.

“ It may well be that, if some steps had been taken at an earlier point, the outcome could’ve been different from what happened.

“Nevertheless, the cause of death does not reflect anything other than the natural process that is an acute bacterial infection.”