A coroner’s inquest 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, and his mother informed staff of his allergies to milk, egg and nuts and instructed them to serve her son only a safe cereal with soy milk.
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 whereby Louis died of rare condition called “malignant hyperthermia,” after suffering a reaction as well to the anesthetic used as he was intubated.
TV station 7 News Melbourne reports that Louis’s grieving parents are now 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 state of Victoria’s health department now also requires hospitals to report cases of anaphylaxis.