x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Answers scarce in children's deaths

Their father says investigations into the treatment and possible fatal food poisoning of boy and girl continue.

Nathan D´Souza, 5, died on June 13 and his eight-year-old sister Chelsea died the next day.
Nathan D´Souza, 5, died on June 13 and his eight-year-old sister Chelsea died the next day.

DUBAI // Friends and relatives of a brother and sister who died of suspected food poisoning remembered the children's lives at a church service last night. The early evening mass at St Mary's Church in Dubai marked the month anniversary of the deaths of Nathan, five, and Chelsea D'Souza, eight. The results of an investigation into their treatment at a private hospital are pending.

Patrick D'Souza yesterday confirmed the investigation by the Dubai Health Authority was ongoing and that further tests ordered by prosecutors into what killed his two children had not been completed. "We don't have any news," he said. "They said it would take time. We don't know how long, but at the moment we are just coping with the pain and trying to move on with our lives. We are not bothered with these things. We have enough to deal with."

A source from the legal affairs department at the Dubai Health Authority said it had collected files from the New Medical Centre Specialty Hospital where the children were treated, but was still waiting for reports from Dubai Police and the results of the post-mortem examinations. "We are not able to proceed until we have all the reports," the source said. "We will not question the doctors concerned until we know how to angle our questions, based on the laboratory tests. These have been sent abroad and always take some time to come back - it is not a quick process. We have not made any conclusions at all. This is not an easy case, as it was an unexpected event. It will take time to reach conclusions."

Mr D'Souza said last night's mass, which he and his wife, Ana Sophia, attended, simply memorialised the deaths of his children one month ago. The two fell ill, along with their mother and a housekeeper, on June 12 after eating a meal delivered from a restaurant serving Chinese food in Al Qusais. They were rushed to the nearby hospital, where they were treated and later released. Nathan was returned to the hospital the following morning after his condition worsened, but was dead on arrival. His sister was moved to Dubai Hospital, where she was treated, but died on June 14. After autopsies, their bodies were flown to France, where they were buried on June 29. A few of the siblings' close friends, along with the housekeeper and work colleagues of Mr D'Souza, attended, as well as family from India. The children were laid to rest in white coffins; many of their toys, including fairy wings, were placed in the grave with them. The restaurant at which they ate was closed by Dubai Municipality soon after the deaths, and managers yesterday said they had not yet been given any indication when it would be allowed to reopen. loatway@thenational.ae * additional reporting by Mitya Underwood