Fizzah Malik inquest: Death of Redbridge girl, 5, ‘would have been avoided’ had GP referred her to expert
PUBLISHED: 17:19 07 January 2016 | UPDATED: 17:22 07 January 2016
The death of a five-year-old girl – who died 48 hours after seeing two GPs – “would have been avoided” had a doctor referred her to a paediatrician, an inquest has heard.
Fizzah Malik, of Avondale Road, Redbridge, was taken ill on December 1 2013, complaining of a temperature.
After two days she had started vomiting, developed a pain in her chest and rash on her throat, but two separate GP appointments both diagnosed a viral infection and prescribed Ibuprofen and Calpol.
Walthamstow Coroner’s Court heard that on the morning of December 5, two days later, Fizzah was resting in her father’s arms when her head “just dropped”.
She was rushed to Whipps Cross Hospital but passed away due to cardiac arrest, with the cause of death being identified as a combination of pneumonia and a bacterial infection, streptococcus.
Giving a narrative verdict earlier today, senior coroner Ms Nadia Persaud told the court: “Fizzah Malik was seen by a GP in an out-of-hours service located in King George’s Hospital.
“Following the assessment her father was told to take her home, keep her cool and treat her with Calpol and Ibuprofen.
“A key factor was the report of pain in the left side of her chest.”
The pain in Fizzah’s chest was pleuritis, an inflammation of the lining of her lungs caused by pneumonia, and the key contention was whether the out-of-hours GP Dr Nasul Mohsin should have spotted this.
Ms Persaud continued: “Despite this complaint there was no clear evidence the chest was auscultated [listened to] fully.
“Had such a test been carried out it is likely it would have found crackles.
“Had a respiratory rate been taken, it would likely be raised.
“Had a referral to the paediatrician been made at that time, it is likely her death would have been avoided.”
Ms Persaud ruled out giving a verdict of neglect, as the case did not “meet the high threshold test of gross failure”
The conclusion, more than two years after Fizzah’s death, brought her mother Rubina Aashtar, 43, to tears.
Speaking after the inquest, father Marshal Aashtar, 45, said: “It is heartbreaking. Hopefully other people’s children will not have to suffer the same way.
“We are going through hell every day.
“We are very grateful to the coroner for being so thorough.
“She [Fizzah] should have been out playing with her friends. Friday night is movie night, never again.”
Marshal explained it was even harder for his wife, Ruby: “Every time I see her smile, it is a fake smile.”
The Aashtars’ solicitor, Dr Margaret Bloom, said: “It is important so it doesn’t happen again.
“Way overriding matters of family, that is the thing that matters most.”
The out-of-hours service at King George Hospital has now introduced a traffic light system to help children get referred to specialists more easily.
For a full interview with the Aashtars, and how they remember Fizzah, see next week’s Recorder.
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