x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Boy's death linked to food poisoning

Dubai child, two, was admitted to hospital with sick mother last week, but died soon after arriving, physician says.

DUBAI // A toddler in Dubai died last week after he and his mother were admitted to a hospital with symptoms of food poisoning, the doctor who tried to save his life said yesterday. Rishad Pranav, aged two, appeared to have eaten contaminated food, officials said, although testing was still under way. His death is the fourth in the UAE this summer to be linked to food poisoning; the other three were also children younger than 10.

Rishad's condition worsened quickly after he and his mother, Barkha, arrived at Al Rafa Polyclinic in Bur Dubai on Thursday, said Dr PMM Sayed, who treated the boy. Initially, the parents were not even aware their child was ill, he said. "The father brought the family only for treatment of his wife," said Dr Sayed. "When the father mentioned that the child had also been vomiting, our nurse suggested that the child be shown to a paediatrician."

The boy had been nauseated overnight, but had stopped vomiting during the day, Dr Sayed said. He said that when he first saw Rishad, the toddler was suffering from dehydration and was wheezing. But before intravenous fluids could be administered, the boy's condition deteriorated rapidly. "The child was showing abnormal behaviour and suddenly collapsed," Dr Sayed said. "The nurse informed me and I immediately reached the child and checked him, but there was no pulse. It was a clear-cut case of collapse and sudden death.

"Though resuscitation measures were tried, unfortunately we could not save the child." The drastic worsening happened within minutes of the boy's reaching the clinic, he said. He immediately asked for the mother to be moved to Rashid Hospital, and accompanied the family there. The family told doctors they had consumed some home-cooked food after reheating it. Municipality investigators, however, said initial reports showed no common food consumption pattern.

When reached at his home yesterday, the boy's father, Pranav, said he was in shock. "I am not in a state to speak about it now," he said. Last month, two other children in Dubai died of suspected food poisoning: Nathan D'Souza, five, and his sister, Chelsea, eight. The children died after the family was hospitalised with symptoms of food poisoning. They had consumed food from a local restaurant before they fell ill.

The Dubai public prosecution is investigating the case, but no legal opinion has been issued. Marwa Faisal, four, also died at Al Qassimi hospital in Sharjah last month of suspected food poisoning. pmenon@thenational.ae