Abreathing tube in the wrong position could have contributed to the death of a 13-year-old boy who became the UK’s first known child victim of coronavirus, a doctor has told an inquest.
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, of Brixton, south-west London, died of acute respiratory distress syndrome, caused by coronavirus pneumonia, in the early hours of March 30 2020, three days after testing positive for Covid-19.
He suffered a cardiac arrest before he died.
He was admitted to King’s College Hospital after suffering fever, coughing, shortness of breath, vomiting and diarrhoea.
His family were not able to be with him in intensive care because of hospital policies at the time.
They were also unable to attend his funeral as they were self-isolating after some of his siblings contracted milder symptoms of high temperature and loss of taste.
Four people wearing protective clothing, gloves and face masks lowered his coffin into a south-east London grave in April 2020.
Hours before Ismail’s death, an endotracheal tube (ET) used to help patients breath was found to be in the wrong position and a decision was made to leave it and monitor him.
The teenager did not survive the night.
The inquest at London Inner South Coroner’s Court is examining whether the ET should have been repositioned.
At a basic level, clearly the fact that the tube was not in the correct place has contributed to (the cardiac arrest)
Dr Tushar Vince, a consultant in paediatric intensive care at King’s College Hospital, treated Ismail on March 29.
He had already been intubated, the court heard.
Giving evidence via video-link, Dr Vince said the fact that the breathing tube was in the wrong position could have contributed to the teenager’s death.
Asked by the coroner if it would be reasonable to put the positioning of the ET on the death certificate as one of the causes, Dr Vince said: “I think it would be reasonable to consider it, yes.”
Asked what the cause of the cardiac arrest was, Dr Vince said: “At a basic level, clearly the fact that the tube was not in the correct place has contributed to this.”