Asylum Seeker Staying In UK Hotel Died Within Six Months After Being Refused Medical Help For Back Pain

Asylum Seeker Staying In UK Hotel Died Within Six Months After Being Refused Medical Help For Back Pain

By James Simons-

A 26-year-old asylum seeker died less than six months after his arrival in the Uk.Mohammed Camera was dead following a suspected cardiac arrest. The case is one of many uncovered in a new project by Liberty Investigates.

In the lead up to Mohammed’s death on November 9, 2020, witnesses at the hotel said he had requested and been refused medical help for worsening back pain.

At the inquest, a coroner found no link between Mohammed’s back pain and his cardiac arrest, although back pain is one of the symptoms that can precede a cardiac arrest.

A cardiac arrest can occur when a diseased heart’s electrical system malfunctions. This malfunction causes an abnormal heart rhythm such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. Some cardiac arrests are also caused by extreme slowing of the heart’s rhythm (bradycardia).

The hotel where Mohammed was staying in is one of the four asylum seeker contingency hotels located in the borough of Barnet. It is owned by housing provider Clearsprings Ready Homes.

A Barnet Council report into these hotels published in June detailed the poor conditions asylum seekers often had to endure, including the fact that “a lot of rooms do not have opening windows, which can lead to overheating and poor ventilation”.

Prior to his death, Mohammed was deemed an “adult at risk” by the Home Office after it found that he was likely a victim of modern slavery.

One friend described Mohammed as “a man with a good heart”.

Mohammed’s story is just one of more than 100 asylum seekers who have died in asylum seeker housing in Britain since 2016.

Mohammed’s story was compiled by a team of journalists at Liberty Investigates because the Uk government does not publish statistics of deaths that occur in its accomodation.

The Asylum Seeker Memorial Project has recorded 140 such deaths between April 2016 and August 2022.

Eleanor Rose, the investigations editor at Liberty Investigates, said: “Those fleeing persecution or conflict in their homelands are often left struggling in poor accommodation, far from the people who care about them. Their deaths often go unannounced or forgotten.

“We hope this memorial – pieced together by our tenacious investigative journalists – goes some way to telling the stories of those the home secretary may otherwise forget.”

A search of The Asylum Seeker Memorial database showed at least an additional 14 deaths in Home Office accommodation in London, most of which were recorded without the name of the deceased.

These include Ahmed Albukhari Afif, known to friends as Bukhary, who died in a hotel near Heathrow in July 2021.

A post-mortem found that he suffered sudden death in epilepsy. Afif, aged 27, had arrived in the UK from Sudan three months earlier.

The Asylum Seeker Memorial Project website states: “An incident report sent by Clearsprings safeguarding staff to the Home Office states he had ‘no previous health concerns’, suggesting they were not aware of or hadn’t recorded his conditions.”

“We hope this memorial – pieced together by our tenacious investigative journalists – goes some way to telling the stories of those the home secretary may otherwise forget.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The welfare of asylum seekers is, and always will be, of the utmost importance to us.

“We work closely with the NHS, local authorities, non-governmental organisations and contractors to ensure that asylum seekers can access the health care and support they need.”

A search of The Asylum Seeker Memorial database showed at least an additional 14 deaths in Home Office accommodation in London, most of which were recorded without the name of the deceased.

These include Ahmed Albukhari Afif, known to friends as Bukhary, who died in a hotel near Heathrow in July 2021.

A post-mortem found that he suffered sudden death in epilepsy. Afif, aged 27, had arrived in the UK from Sudan three months earlier.

The Asylum Seeker Memorial Project website states: “An incident report sent by Clearsprings safeguarding staff to the Home Office states he had ‘no previous health concerns’, suggesting they were not aware of or hadn’t recorded his conditions.”

A serious case review, carried out by Redbridge Local Safeguarding Children Board, found that the Home Office lost sight of Tina for 10 of the 11 months of her life.

A Home Office spokesperson at the time said: “We are committed to ensuring the safety and security of all those within the asylum system.”

 

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