GP tells Newham family ‘leave mouldy home’ after girl, 7, catches pneumonia
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 February 2015
A doctor has called for a family to be urgently rehomed after mould caused by damp left a seven-year-old girl fighting for breath on an oxygen machine.
Jody Palmer’s daughter Lacey Mifsud had been experiencing difficulty breathing before suffering a bout of pneumonia that landed her in the A&E department at Royal London Hospital on January 15.
Days after coming off the ward, Lacey was taken to see a GP at Star Lane Medical Centre, Canning Town.
In a letter, seen by the Recorder, addressed “to whom it may concern” locum Dr Hussain advised against the children returning to their council house on Stokes Road, East Ham, due to the “serious mould problem” Ms Palmer had reported.
According to dinner lady Ms Palmer, the family-of-five have been sleeping in the same room to avoid the worst affected parts of the house and mould has even been settling on their pillows causing problems with breathing at night.
Dr Hussain said: “In view of what the family have told me, it would be detrimental for the children’s health to stay in such an accommodation.
“I would be grateful if you can rehouse the family as a matter of urgency in view of the adverse effects it is having on the children’s health.”
Lacey had been suffering from bouts of fainting, thought to be linked to an undiagnosed heart condition, since before moving into the property. Ms Palmer claims she registered her daughter’s condition with the council when they were housed in August, claiming she stressed the importance of living somewere which was not damp.
Lacey was diagnosed with pneumonia and a viral infection in her lungs after being taken to A&E by her mum.
“I knew something wasn’t right with Lacey,” said Ms Palmer. “I could see by the way her rib cage was moving how difficult it was for her to breath.”
The youngster was placed on an oxygen machine after doctors found she had 80 per cent oxygen in her blood, 15 pc lower than the level expected at her age.
“When I found out it was pneumonia I panicked. I thought she was going to die,” Jody said.
Lacey’s grandma, Angela Mifsud, 52, said her granddaughter’s admission to hospital was “the last straw” with regards to the damp in the family’s property.
A Newham Council spokesperson said: “We are sorry for the problems this tenant has faced while living in this property. After she reported the problems, we visited the property the next day to assess what work needed to be carried out. Following this visit, we contacted the management agent who is responsible for this property and they have agreed to carry out urgent work to resolve the damp and mould problems.
“We have also offered this tenant and her family alternative temporary accommodation, close to where they are currently living.”
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