Boy 'died after treatment delay at Heartlands Hospital'

Image caption,
Elyas Nasserulddin Albana died in October 2008

A 14-month-old boy with a rare condition died after being left for six hours without treatment at a Birmingham hospital, an inquest heard.

Elyas Nasserulddin Albana had a special NHS "passport" which should have fast-tracked him to treatment.

However, his inquest was told he died at Heartlands Hospital in October 2008 while waiting for a blood test to check salt levels in his body.

Elyas's consultant described his death as a "train of events that went wrong".

He suffered from Bartters Syndrome, a condition which meant he had to be given regular amounts of salts and potassium intravenously.

The toddler's consultant at Heartlands Hospital, Dr Roopa Mulik, told the inquest at Sutton Coldfield Magistrates' Court that as kidneys mature, the symptoms for children like Elyas usually decreased and many could live long lives.

The "hospital passport", which told staff of the boy's condition and was intended to ensure he received fast treatment, had been given to the boy's family in the previous July and copies had been kept in the emergency department and on the children's ward.

Dr Mulik said Elyas's death was a "train of events which went wrong".

"If a blood test had happened in accident and emergency, we might have known how bad things were," she said.

Elyas's father, Nasserulddin Musettold, told the inquest his son had been vomiting for 36 hours when he dialled 999 at 1500 BST on 8 October 2008, and an ambulance took him to Heartlands Hospital.

That day, Elyas had also suffered with diarrhoea as well, which along with the constant vomiting, was a sign that his salt intake was seriously out of balance, he told the hearing.

Mr Musettold said his son had always been treated quickly on previous trips to the hospital.

Staff would give him fluids and salts intravenously because the vomiting and diarrhoea would cause him to dehydrate.

"I kept talking to the medical staff and saying that he was seriously ill," said Mr Musettold.

'Crying and screaming'

"Every time I asked them to give treatment, they told me to go back and wait. They told me that they knew what they were doing."

"I kept asking for a doctor. At 9pm, they said that this was the end of the shift and he would have to wait for another doctor to check in."

When the new doctor came on, Mr Muset said that he was told that his son was seriously ill.

The doctor tried to take a blood sample, but could not, so shaved part of the boy's head to take blood.

"Then my son stopped breathing and stopped blinking," said Mr Musettold.

"The doctor contacted other doctors and they took him to the emergency room. I was crying and screaming."

Discussing Elyas' cause of death, Dr Geoffrey Debelle, from Birmingham Children's Hospital, said the toddler was likely to have suffered hypokalaemia which affects the beating of the heart and can cause kidney failure.

The inquest continues.

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