"when we got to the restaurant she started to feel unwell."
An inquest heard that a schoolgirl suffered a fatal allergic reaction after just “one lick” of an ice-cream.
Habiba Chishti, aged nine, suffered the fatal reaction just hours after arriving on the Costa del Sol for a holiday with her family in February 2019.
At Bradford Coroner’s Court, Habiba collapsed on February 16.
Her father, Dr Wajid Azam Chishti, told the court how he had bought her an ice-cream with some chocolate sauce that afternoon.
He had asked the vendor three times if the sauce contained nuts and each time, he was assured it didn’t.
Habiba was allergic to eggs and nuts and was also asthmatic. She was “fine” to enjoy dairy products such as ice-cream.
However, that evening, she collapsed at the hotel and was taken to Malaga Hospital. She tragically died on February 18.
A post-mortem revealed she had lethal doses of peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashew nuts and pistachios in her system which “starved her brain” of oxygen.
Dr Chishti said he was “devastated” there was nothing he could do to save his daughter despite “all of his training”.
He told the court: “Habiba took one lick and she was absolutely fine at the time – but that’s all it took.
“When we got back [from the ice cream vendor] she was okay. But when we got to the restaurant she started to feel unwell.
“We left and went back to the hotel as we thought it was her asthma so we could get her inhaler. There weren’t classical signs of anaphylaxis.
“I went to the reception to see if we could get some help but I didn’t know it was a serious issue.
“By the time I got back to see her my wife said she’d collapsed.
“We have emergency training every year. It’s so scary that we have all this training but it’s no use when there are no symptoms.
“It’s mind-boggling. With all the knowledge from everything you learned, it feels like it’s doubly worse. It’s still so hard.”
Since the death of Habiba, Dr Chishti revealed that he and his family are reluctant to go on holiday, even in the UK.
“I’m starting to realise I have to move on for the sake of my other children but it’s very hard.”
He went on to say that Habiba kept telling him to do charitable work.
Dr Chishti explained: “Habiba always wanted me to help local charities, I told her I was already doing a lot but because she kept asking I told her I’d do more.
“She loved going to school. She was so good.
“I’m helping a charity in Gambia now because Habiba wanted me to.
“In that sense, I feel even more devastated that we didn’t see what was going on.”
He revealed that staff at Club La Costa World did not help him as he performed CPR to try and save his daughter’s life.
When the ambulance arrived, he was not allowed to stay with his daughter, something he “couldn’t understand”.
Professor Marta Cohen, a consultant paediatric pathologist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, told the court how “one lick is enough” for the allergy to be lethal.
She said: “I took tissue which showed evidence of swelling in the brain. Before she died she went through an episode of starvation of oxygen to the brain.
“The oxygen couldn’t get through her lungs and bloodstream to her brain. She was starved of oxygen.
“The ice cream which potentially contained one or more allergen, are all in keeping with the developments of anaphylactic shock.
“On the balance of probability, her cause of death was from anaphylactic shock.
“One lick is enough – if someone is really allergic, it can even just be from it being in the environment.
“This is why peanuts are not allowed on planes.”
Assistant coroner Katy Dickinson concluded: “Habiba sadly passed away on February 18, 2019, in Malaga Hospital in Spain.
“I’m very sorry we find ourselves here today.
“On balance she died as a result, and despite medical intervention, from anaphylactic shock.
“I’m so sorry that this has happened, and that you have had to be part of this process.
“She sounds like a lovely girl with a big heart. A kind little girl. I’m sorry you lost her, my heart goes out to you, her siblings, her family.
“With her allergies, it must have been so difficult for you to keep her safe and well for nine years because she could at any point accidentally fall ill.
“The severity of these allergies need to be highlighted.
“But I want to thank you for whatever your duties are at the NHS. We are very grateful.”