Parents claim they heard hospital staff laughing as son's life support machine was switched off
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Losing a child is one of the most difficult things a parent can face, but grieving parents have said they had their pain worsened as they heard hospital staff laughing as their son's life support machine was turned off.
Haroon Rashid, 41, says he was forced to say goodbye to his five-year-old son, Muhammad Ayaan Haroon, as medical staff in the same room were laughing in the background.
He says only a thin curtain stood between the laughing doctors and nurses who had treated Ayaan as they watched him take his final breath.
Following the incident, Haroon has submitted a formal complaint about the conduct of the staff after a relative had to go and ask them to be respectful whilst they spent their last moments with Ayaan.
Bosses at Sheffield Children's Hospital have pledged to complete a 'thorough' investigation into the family's claims.
Ayaan had been admitted to the hospital on March 5 with trouble breathing, before eventually losing his life on March 13.
He had a history of respiratory illnesses and a rare genetic condition called Hace 1 which caused developmental delays.
Father Haroon, a taxi driver and father of four from Sheffield, said: "We don't know how we will live without him now our son is gone.
"On the other hand, we worry about what happened to him. We don't want this to happen to any other child or any other family.
"When the machine was switched off at 2.30am we had a lot of family members there.
"There was laughter coming from staff members. We were so upset. There was no one else on the ward apart from staff and one other small child behind the curtain from us.
"Surely the staff knew Ayaan's machine was about to be turned off. They continued laughing after my relative asked them to stop. A child's life was coming to an end. It was highly insensitive.
"We are living with our son's loss but we are very, very angry about the staff behaved."
Haroon and his wife Fakhra Dibi, 45, are now calling for an investigation into the treatment of their son.
He said: "Every day in the treatment of my son something went wrong. They didn't listen to my years of experience in caring for my children.
"I’m not a doctor but I know my son’s history.
"From past experience I knew what treatment my son needed from the outset but no one listened to me.
"My son was shown no compassion, no dignity, no respect and no humanity.
"I want to highlight the hospital’s failings to you so no other child suffers like my son.
"I have another child who is a patient of the same hospital.
"After how her brother was treated I do not feel she is safe in the care of the staff at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.”
Their 10-page complaint details concerns over the medical care Ayaan received as well as the 'inappropriate' behaviour from staff whilst his family were saying goodbye.
Ayaan's initial cause of death has been listed as an adenovirus which can cause flu-like symptoms and pneumonia.
A decision as to whether an inquest into his death will be held has not yet been made by a coroner.
Dr Jeff Perring, medical director at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I wish to express my deepest condolences to Ayaan’s family for their loss.
"The death of any child is tragic and I know that my colleagues who treated, and came to know, Ayaan during his short life will share in expressing these condolences.
“The loss of a child while they are a patient at Sheffield Children’s is something we take very seriously.
"Our colleagues pride themselves on providing the best clinical and pastoral care for all children and young people who need it.
“We have received Mr Rashid’s complaint, which is very detailed and complex.
"There will be a thorough internal investigation of the care and treatment Ayaan received at the hospital between 5 and 13 March which will cover the concerns raised in Mr Rashid’s complaint.”