Father of drowned boy files case against special-needs centre

Ali Ahmed Ali died a week after being left unattended in 38cm of water at the centre he had attended for four years.

SHARJAH // The father of an autistic boy who drowned in a swimming pool at a special-needs centre said on Tuesday that he had filed a case against the centre.

Ali Ahmed Ali attended the Awladouna Centre for Learning and Rehabilitation in Sharjah for four years.

Ali, 9, got into difficulty in a plastic pool with 38cm of water on April 30.

The boy was later taken to Al Qassimi Hospital where he died a week later.

Ahmed Ali, 40, from Somalia, was on a business trip in China when he received a frantic call from his wife telling him about the accident.

“My wife told me that my boy had fallen down and was rushed to the hospital,” Mr Ali said. “My wife called me again after an hour and informed me that my child was in a coma and in the intensive-care unit.

“I took the first plane departing to the UAE and came back.”

Hospital staff told Mr Ali that his son’s heart had stopped by the time he had arrived. Medical staff managed to restart his heart and he was put on a respirator.

The parents took turns at the boy’s hospital bedside as they also have a seven-year-old daughter.

Mr Ali urged all special-needs centres to instal closed-circuit TV cameras and ensure staff were always on full alert.

“My autistic son responded to the treatment he got in the centre,” he said.

“He was almost an ordinary child. He was always full of energy, he filled our home with laughter.

“Now that he is gone the house is haunted by an eerie silence. Our daughter lost her best friend and her playmate.”

Two female occupational therapists at the centre last week pleaded not guilty to charges of negligence in the Sharjah Court of First Instance.

Their next hearing has been scheduled for next month.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Published: June 17, 2014 04:00 AM

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