Amanda Huynh was on her way home on the school bus when she suffered an anaphylactic reaction on March 6, 2018. She died two days later in hospital.
The 12-year-old Georgia girl began to have an allergic reaction after eating part of a granola bar, according to her brother Dillon. “Amanda bit into a granola bar that she usually ate, but this time she had a reaction,” wrote Dillon on a Gofundme page to help with expenses and to raise awareness.
In an interview with Allergic Living, Dillon, 19, said his sister had been diagnosed with peanut allergies and asthma at the age of 3. She had experienced four allergic reactions previously, “the last allergic reaction before this one was last year,” he said, but none had been this severe.
Due to privacy laws, the Coweta County School System can’t give specifics of Amanda Huynh’s health emergency. But public information officer Dean Jackson confirmed to Allergic Living that the school bus driver brought the ailing girl to East Coweta High School in the tiny town of Sharpsburg, Georgia, after picking her and fellow students up at Lee Middle School, about two miles away.
Amanda Huynh Treated at High School
According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, after biting into the bar on the bus, Amanda had begun to feel sick and was rushed to the high school, “where school nurses were able to treat her with an EpiPen until an ambulance arrived.” Dillon told Allergic Living that his sister always carried her asthma inhaler, however “Amanda had an EpiPen at a younger age but, as she grew older, she stopped carrying one.”
The ambulance raced Amanda from the school to the nearest hospital – Piedmont Newnan Hospital, which is eight miles away. She was then airlifted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital, where she died on March 8, 2018, according to the Coweta County coroner’s office.
Jackson said the schools in Coweta County have at least one school nurse on staff and “stock” or unprescribed EpiPens on hand for emergencies. All county school nurses are trained on the administration of epinephrine auto-injectors. Further, Jackson says bus drivers are employees of the school district, and students are “allowed and encouraged” to carry epinephrine auto-injectors on the bus with physician and parental permission.
Dillon wants the food allergy community to know that Amanda Huynh “was a true hero and brought our family together.” On the GoFundMe page, he writes of how she was smart, energetic, loved to bike and ice skate, and was always quick to offer a hug. “Amanda meant the world to me and brightened my day when I didn’t ask for it,” Dillon wrote.
Related Reading: Anaphylaxis But No Epinephrine: Inside an Epidemic of Hesitation