LONDON: The parents of 5-year-old Muhammad Ayaan, who passed away on March 15 in Sheffield Children’s Hospital, claim they heard medical staff laughing as their son’s life support machine was turned off.
Ayaan had a history of respiratory difficulties as well as a rare genetic condition that causes developmental delays, The Independent reported on Wednesday. He was admitted to the hospital on March 5 with breathing difficulties and died just over a week later.
“When the machine was switched off at 2:30 a.m., we had a lot of family members there. There was laughter coming from staff members. We were so upset,” Ayaan’s father Haroon Rashid told The Independent.
“There was no one else on the ward apart from the staff and one other small child behind the curtain from us,” he added.
“Surely the staff knew Ayaan’s machine was about to be turned off. They continued laughing after my relative asked them to stop.
“A child’s life was coming to an end. It was highly insensitive. We are living with our son’s loss, but we are very, very angry about how the staff behaved.”
Ayaan’s mother Fakhra Dibi also described a similar incident when she was told that her son’s condition was deteriorating a few days before his death, The Independent reported.
Dibi claims she was given the news in a ward full of laughing staff, with children and other parents in the background.
“My wife rang me crying after the doctor broke the news,” Rashid said.
“They should have taken her to a private room, not told her like that in front of everyone. It’s hugely insensitive,” he added.
Rashid, a taxi driver and father of four, has filed a formal complaint, which also includes allegations about the standards of care during Ayaan’s time in the hospital as well as a claim that he was contacted for a follow-up appointment for his son 10 days after he died.
The 41-year-old further claims that hospital staff had been “dismissive” to some of the concerns he raised about his son during his care, The Independent reported.
“Every day in the treatment of my son, something went wrong. They didn’t listen to my years of experience in caring for my children,” he said.
“I’m not a doctor, but I know my son’s history. From past experience, I knew what treatment my son needed from the outset, but no one listened to me.”
However, Rashid emphasized the previous treatment that his son received as an outpatient from Sheffield Children’s Hospital had been faultless and that his consultants had supported the family throughout.
Rashid said: “We don’t know how we will live without him now our son is gone.
“We worry about what happened to him. We don’t want this to happen to any other child or any other family.
The hospital has promised a “thorough” investigation into the family’s claims.
Dr. Jeff Perring, medical director at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, told The Independent: “I wish to express my deepest condolences to Ayaan’s family for their loss.
“The death of any child is tragic, and I know that my colleagues who treated, and came to know, Ayaan during his short life will share in expressing these condolences.
“The loss of a child while they are a patient at Sheffield Children’s is something we take very seriously.
“Our colleagues pride themselves on providing the best clinical and pastoral care for all children and young people who need it.
“We have received Rashid’s complaint, which is very detailed and complex.
“There will be a thorough internal investigation of the care and treatment Ayaan received at the hospital between 5 and 13 March, which will cover the concerns raised in Mr. Rashid’s complaint.”