CORONER MARY HASSELL has found that if staff at Bow School had administered an emergency EpiPen, there was a “possibility but not a probability” that Nasar may have been saved.
The Coroner was speaking at the end of an inquest into the death of Nasar Ahmed, a pupil at Bow School, last November. Nasar, who suffered from asthma and severe allergies, was sent to detention because he was in the vicinity of some other boys who were fighting. When he said he felt unwell, a series of blunders by staff and weak school procedures meant that no first aid was administered – although Nasar was supposed to have a care plan which provided for emergency treatment to be given.
Nasar’s mother, Ferdousi Zaman, spoke out on the steps of Poplar Coroner’s Court, saying, “If he has anaphylaxis I give him his EpiPen. They [school staff] are first-aiders, they are more knowledgeable than me. They have failed their duty of care.”
In a statement, the family said, “We strongly believe that if Nasar’s care plan had been completed correctly, if staff had been aware of the care plan and if it had been followed properly, including administering an Epi-Pen as soon as possible, that Nasar would be alive today.”
The family has also called for a review into how schools devise and implement policies and procedures to care for pupils with life-threatening asthma and allergies.
The knowledge that the school which was supposed to care for Nasar has failed him has been made all the worse for his family by revelations during the inquest that Nasar went through such torment before he died. He begged staff to put him into detention and became very agitated when he began to feel ill – and when no one appeared to take his complaints seriously. The school says that it has reviewed its procedures since the incident.
The family statement read, “It has been extremely difficult to sit through the evidence of our son’s last conscious minutes. To hear about his fear and panic, and his struggle to survive will haunt us forever.” The story will also haunt many parents in Tower Hamlets who thought they could trust local schools to keep their children safe. They will be looking to the Council to ensure that the kind of mistakes and carelessness displayed by this school cannot happen again – there or elsewhere in the borough.
•Read our earlier coverage of this tragic story:
•Reports on earlier stages of the inquest:
•Initial reports on the incident: