No post-mortem on 13-year-old who died after contracting coronavirus, family friend says
The Evening Standard
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab died at King's College Hospital in London on Monday, three days after testing positive for coronavirus
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab died at King's College Hospital in London on Monday, three days after testing positive for coronavirus ( Jack Taylor/Getty Images )
No post-mortem examination will be carried out on 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab who died after contracting coronavirus, a family friend has said.
Ismail died at King's College Hospital in London on Monday and is believed to be the UK's youngest victim of Covid-19 after testing positive for the virus on Friday, a day after he entered hospital.
A spokesman for the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said on Tuesday that the boy's death had been referred to the coroner but gave no further details.
But on Wednesday, family friend Mark Stephenson, speaking on behalf of the boy’s mother and six siblings, said there would be no post-mortem on Ismail.
He also confirmed the teenager, from Brixton, south London, died after suffering a cardiac arrest.
The update came as Ismail's family paid tribute to a “loving son” with a “heartwarming” smile and urged people to “stay at home as much as they possibly can, to protect the NHS and save lives”.
In a statement issued through GoFundMe, they said: “We are heartbroken as a family due to the devastation caused by the coronavirus as it becomes too real for us as a family and community.
“Ismail was a loving son, brother, nephew to our family and a friend to many people who knew him. His smile was heart-warming and he was always gentle and kind.”
They went on: “As a family, we have decided not to release Ismail’s picture at this juncture as we are concerned where it may end up and how this will impact us upon seeing it.
“We as a family are still trying to come to terms with the sudden death of Ismail. He leaves behind six siblings who are completely devastated and this has been made more difficult not being able to be with Ismail while he was in the hospital.”
Downing Street described the death of 13-year-old as a "tragedy".
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: "The case is obviously a tragedy and the Prime Minister’s thoughts are with the family."
The spokesman declined to comment on reports in the past 24 hours that his family were not allowed to be at his hospital bedside.
Speaking earlier on Wednesday on Good Morning Britain, Mr Stephen told Good Morning Britain Ismail had "died alone".
"As you know, when someone has got this infection they’re in isolation," he said.
"So how difficult it is for a mum not to be able to be with her son at this time when he's sick.
"Usually a mum will be at the bedside. You know, staying overnight in the hospital."
Mr Stephenson, college director at Brixton's Madinah College, where Ismail’s sister works, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral costs and for the family, who also lost Ismail’s father to cancer.
By early Wednesday afternoon, nearly £60,000 had been raised in donations, far exceeding the initial £4,000 target set. Any extra money raised will go directly to the family, the GoFundMe page says.
A statement accompanying the appeal said Ismail "sadly" passed away "without any family members close by due to the highly infectious nature of Covid 19".
Ismail’s family have meanwhile said they are "beyond devastated" by his death, in a statement released through Mr Stephenson.
“Ismail started showing symptoms and had difficulties breathing and was admitted to King’s College Hospital,” the family said.
“He was put on a ventilator and then put into an induced coma but sadly died yesterday morning.
"To our knowledge he had no underlying health conditions."