Birmingham boy who died 'had no white fish allergy'

Image source, West Midlands Police
Image caption,
Mohammad Ismaeel Ashraf died in March

An inquest jury has heard conflicting evidence about a nine-year-old boy who died after eating lunch at school.

Mohammad Ismaeel Ashraf had eaten fish fingers and developed symptoms similar to an allergic reaction before his death in March, the hearing was told.

A spokesman for Al-Hijrah School in Bordesley Green, Birmingham, said notes indicated he had an allergy to fish.

However, his father Tahseen told the jury his son had eaten white fish on many occasions without a problem.

Mr Tahseen wept in the witness box at Birmingham Coroner's Court as he described his son as kind, gentle and caring and said his death had caused "unimaginable pain".

Dietician Ros Blackmore, who first saw Ismaeel in 2012, said he had allergies to milk, nuts and kiwi fruit but white fish "didn't seem to be a problem at all".

Image source, Google
Image caption,
A spokesman for Al-Hijrah School in Bordesley Green said notes it kept indicated the boy had an allergy to fish

Paediatrician Dr Robin Tall told the inquest Ismaeel, from Sparkbrook, had been unwell in the days before his death with a suspected viral illness and had attended Birmingham Children's Hospital.

But he said he appeared to be getting better and had returned to school two days before his death.

Catering manager Debora Parks, said she and her staff had never looked in the "red book" kept in the kitchen area listing children with allergies and containing care plans for each of them.

Ms Parks, who is employed by a firm called Caterlink, said they simply "got to know" the children concerned.

She thought Ismaeel's only allergy was to dairy because a lanyard issued to him made no mention of his other allergies.

The inquest heard children often didn't wear their lanyards.

She said she was "shocked" when, after Ismaeel was taken ill, she checked the red book and saw his full list of allergies.

She said that since his death the number of children listed in the red allergy book had gone from seven to 57.

The inquest is expected to last three or four days.

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