x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Funeral in France for 'poisoning' children

Father calls for hospital to be questioned as family awaits results of postmortem examinations and laboratory tests.

Nathan and Chelsea, the D'Souza siblings, who died of suspected food poisoning in Dubai, with their parents, Patrick and Ana Sophia, during one of the family outings.
Nathan and Chelsea, the D'Souza siblings, who died of suspected food poisoning in Dubai, with their parents, Patrick and Ana Sophia, during one of the family outings.

DUBAI // The parents of two children who died of suspected food poisoning are preparing to take their bodies back to France, where their funeral is to be held. Dubai Police have released the bodies of Nathan and Chelsea D'Souza, aged five and seven, following postmortem examinations. They died hours after eating food ordered from a Chinese restaurant in the Al Qusais area.

Last week Dubai Municipality handed the case to the public prosecution to investigate. The family will are expected to accompany the bodies to France in a day or two, as soon as the necessary paperwork is completed. The prosecution has sent samples of food and tissue to laboratories outside the UAE for further tests. Prosecutors also ordered autopsies on the two bodies. Dubai Advocate General, Khalifa Rashid bin Deemas, said on Monday that they had been ordered "due to the lack of the medical reason of death".

The two children, their mother and a housemaid fell ill after eating a takeaway meal from the restaurant on June 12, a Friday. The family rushed to the nearby NMC hospital where they were treated and later released. Nathan was taken to the hospital again on Saturday morning after his condition worsened but was reported to be dead on arrival. Chelsea was soon moved to Dubai Hospital where she was treated but she died on Sunday.

Yesterday the children's father, Patrick D'Souza, said again that more attention need to be paid to the two hospitals. "The media are speculating on what caused the death and what they ate," he said. "However, the hospital, the healthcare sector is not being questioned." He maintained food poisoning was quite common but death from it was unusual. A spokesperson for the Dubai Health Authority, which oversees both hospitals named in the case, would not comment. when contacted yesterday.

Mr D'Souza said that the investigations were taking time but he was confident that the Dubai authorities would come out with the facts soon. pmenon@thenational.ae