Inmate at Doncaster prison died from malaria because medics mistook symptoms for flu

Doncaster prison
Doncaster prison

Medical staff at a Doncaster prison have been found guilty of negligence, following the death of an inmate whose malaria symptoms were mistaken for flu.

A jury in an inquest into the deathof Adetekunbo Ohisaga Ajakaiye found that all four doctors and one nurse from HMP Doncaster resposible for his care had acted or omitted to act, amounting to negligence and resulting in Mr Ajakaiye dying from malaria.

During a four week inquest at Doncaster Coroners’ Court, the court was told how on arrival to the country Mr Ajakaiye was arrested and detained at Heathrow Airport on robbery charges.

Prior to arriving in the UK, the 28-year-old had been travelling in Sierra Leone and had not been taking anti-malaria mediacation. He informed the police officers at the police station that he had malaria and was suffering from vomiting and diahorrea.

A Forensic Medical Expert was called to examine him. Upon attendance the doctor advised that he had the flu, despite Mr Ajakaiye telling him that he believed he had malaria and showing him the mosquito bites.

He was prescibled paracetemol and was then transported to Bradford Magistrates’ Court, where Mr Ajakaiye was remanded into custody at HMP Doncaster.

He was examined by four GPs and a nurse at the prison who all missed the diagnosis, despite Mr Ajakaiye continuously telling staff at the prison that he had the condition.

He requested blood tests which did not take place until he was so unwell that he had to be admitted to hospital on November 24, 2010. He died on the same date from cerebral malaria.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Ajakaiye’s mother, Temitayo said: “I am lost for words. My son hasn’t died in vain if his death raises awareness about Malaria and prevents any other family from going through this tragedy and trauma. In the 21st century, it is horrific that a young, fit and well young man should die from a totally curable disease.”

Following the guilty verdict, Assistant Doncaster Coroner Mark Beresford, submitted two Prevention of Future Deaths Reports which will be directed to the Ministry of Justice and NHS England.

The first is in relation to improving the knowledge of tropical diseases for medical staff in all settings.

The other is in relation to documents containing medical information which accompany a prisoner when he arrives in prison.