x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Distraught father tells of losing his only child, 2

Little Kevin's heartbroken parents have been forced to wait for a post-mortem to find out how he died.

Kevin Jinesh Mavara, who died in a Sharjah hospital on Saturday. An initial hospital medical report had mentioned suspected food poisoning as the cause.
Kevin Jinesh Mavara, who died in a Sharjah hospital on Saturday. An initial hospital medical report had mentioned suspected food poisoning as the cause.

DUBAI // The parents of a toddler who died on Saturday are yet to learn the exact cause of their son's death.

Kevin Jinesh Mavara, 2, died after falling ill on Thursday, a few hours after eating a home-cooked meal of chicken and rice.

Kevin and his father, Jinesh Abraham Mavara, 31, were taken to Central Private Hospital in Sharjah on Friday afternoon and were later discharged.

The worried parents took their only child back to the hospital at 7am on Saturday after his condition deteriorated. Kevin died less than two hours later, about 8.45am.

Kevin's uncle, Jijo K George, said post-mortem results were expected today, adding the initial medical report issued by the hospital had mentioned suspected food poisoning.

Mr Mavara, who works as a supervisor at Aries Marine Engineering Services, spoke yesterday of his grief.

"I can't imagine life without him," a tearful Mr Mavara said. "He was a such an innocent boy. He was just two years and four months old."

Kevin's mother Priya, who works as a nurse at Royal Hospital in Sharjah, is inconsolable. The Mavaras have lived in the UAE for three years.

Asked why Kevin had been discharged, a spokesman for the hospital said he did not wish to comment on the death.

Mr Mavara, still recovering at his home in Sharjah, said he and his wife and son had eaten a home-cooked meal.

"The chicken was fresh and bought from a supermarket," he said. "It was only around midnight that my son and I fell sick and began vomiting."

His wife, who ate the same meal, did not develop any symptoms. "She went to her duty on Thursday night."

On Friday afternoon, the father and son were taken to the hospital where they received medication before being discharged.

"But the problem continued so we went to the hospital again," Mr Mavara said.

"They referred me to Kuwaiti hospital, while my son stayed there and was given some medicine. He died in the morning in the hospital."

Friends and relatives have been visiting the Mavaras' home to offer condolences. Kevin's body will be repatriated to India within the next two days, where his family will observe final rites.

Mr George said he did not believe pesticides could have caused his nephew's death.

"There are no reports of someone spraying pesticides in the building and it does not have a centralised AC system," he said. "We will not know what caused his death until the post-mortem is released."

Death from food poisoning is not uncommon in the UAE. Last month, nine-year-old Awad Khan died in a Deira hospital after his entire family were treated for suspected food poisoning.

In 2009, five-year-old Nathan D'Souza and eight-year-old Chelsea D'Souza died of food poisoning after eating a takeaway meal from a Dubai restaurant.

Later that year, Marwa Faisal, 4, died of food poisoning - 55 minutes after she was admitted to Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah.

Residents should be extra cautious while preparing food in the heat of summer, said Dr Suresh Menon, a specialist in internal medicine and medical director of Lifeline Hospital in Jebel Ali. Dr Menon, who did not treat the Mavara family, said cooked food should be eaten immediately or be kept in the refrigerator.

"These steps are essential to avoiding food poisoning in summer," he said.

"It is dangerous to eat food that has been kept outside the fridge for some time."

Children are more prone to food poisoning and should be monitored for symptoms like vomiting or an upset stomach, which result in dehydration and death.

"They should be given lots of fluids and, if the problem persists, they should be taken to a doctor," Dr Menon said.

frahman@thenational.ae