Hospital Breakfast Linked to Allergic Teen’s Death

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By:
in Food Allergy, News
Published: February 27, 2018

A coroner’s inquest has determined that hospital food contributed to a 13-year-old’s death in Australia in October 2015. Louis Tate stayed overnight at Frankston Hospital in Melbourne because of an asthma attack. His mother informed staff of his allergies to milk, egg and nuts, and had instructed them to serve her son only a safe cereal with soy milk.

AAP Image / Supplied by the Tate family
After he ate breakfast, Louis complained of a tingling sensation and was given epinephrine as an anaphylactic reaction began to progress. Coroner Phillip Byrne couldn’t determine if the severe reaction was because the boy was served cow’s milk or if there was cross-contact with dairy products. (He said the contents of that breakfast were not properly secured for investigation.)

But the coroner did find that the breakfast set off a chain of events that led to Louis dying of rare condition called “malignant hyperthermia.” This related to him suffering an additional reaction to the anesthetic that was used as he was intubated.

TV station 7 News Melbourne reported that Louis’s grieving parents were calling for a Senate inquiry into health-care food safety rules.

Since Louis’ death, the Melbourne hospital has introduced computer software to track allergies and other conditions. The Australian state of Victoria’s health department now also requires hospitals to report cases of anaphylaxis.

At the time of the inquest in December 2017, the boy’s father Simon Tate told reporters: “We strongly believe Louis’s death never should have happened. He was in a hospital where he should have been safe.”

Related Reading:
Food Allergies and U.S. Hospitals: Lack of Training and Reliable Systems
Inquest Probes How Boy Came to Die of Allergic Reaction in Hospital