London Teenager Arrested after Allergic Classmate’s Death

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By:
in Food Allergy, News
Published: July 11, 2017
Karan Cheema, 13, was described as a bright student. Photo: Facebook

A London teenager, 13, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a classmate who suffered a severe allergic reaction died on July 9.

Karanbir Cheema, known as Karan, also 13, began having an allergic reaction on June 28 at his West London high school, after what U.K. news reports suggest was a bullying incident.

A family friend told the London Metro newspaper that Karan had a dairy allergy and a piece of cheese was put into his sandwich without the allergic teen’s knowledge. “When I spoke to one of his family members he said someone put cheese in his lunch and he did not know about it,” the family friend told the newspaper.

But the reports on what caused the boy’s severe and sudden reaction have been conflicting, with some students telling news media that cheese was rubbed on Karan or flicked at him. Several friends have suggested Karan was being bullied at his school.

His mother Rina Cheema told the Daily Mail that her son had multiple allergies, including dairy, wheat, eggs and nut, and that he also had asthma and eczema. She still feels in the dark as to what happened. The grieving mom expressed doubt that rubbing cheese on her son could cause severe anaphylaxis, but she wants answers as to what did happen.

During the incident, Karan alerted staff at the school office that he was in need of medical assistance, then his condition worsened. An ambulance took Karan to hospital in a life-threatening condition, and he remained in intensive care until passing away.

When they became aware that an incident had led to Karan’s anaphylactic reaction on June 28, London’s Metropolitan Police say they arrested the other student. He was questioned and has been released on bail while the investigation continues.

While saying there was incident that led to the severe reaction, police have not confirmed any details, noting they are still investigating.

“We just cannot understand what happened, he was my baby and I trained him to look after himself,” said Rina Cheema.

Alice Hudson, the executive head teacher at the school Karan attended, described him as “a bright and keen student who excelled in maths.” She said the teen, who had several food allergies, “had many friends who are devastated at his death, as are the staff.”