Peanut-Allergic Teen Dies of Severe Reaction that Began at School

in Food Allergy, Food Allergy News, Peanut & Tree Nut
Published: May 11, 2022

At Allergic Living, we’re saddened to report that Jagger Shaw, 14, has died of anaphlaxis.

The teen from Papillion, Nebraska, reportedly ate a granola bar that contained peanut, which he was allergic to. He died in hospital after a devastating anaphylactic reaction.

The family told Allergic Living that they would not speak to the media at this time. But a Facebook post, written by Jagger’s father Tom Shaw, does offer some insights into what happened to cause the eighth grader’s tragedy.

Shaw says that he dropped Jagger at his school at 7:45 a.m. on May 6, 2022. “I gave him a hug and kiss told him to be good, and have a good day like every time I dropped him off,” wrote the grieving father.

He says his son had asked to go to the school office to get a snack, but that a teacher instead offered him one of her granola bars. “Jagger took it, and got halfway through eating it, and felt like he was starting to have an allergic reaction and went to the nurse’s office,” his father wrote on Facebook.

“They gave him Benadryl and waited to see if that was working,” said Shaw. “He tried to go throw it up, and came back from the bathroom looking flushed. At that point, the father says, “the nurse gave him the EpiPen and called an ambulance.”

In the anaphylaxis deaths that Allergic Living has covered in past, a recurring theme has been that epinephrine was not administered promptly in a reaction. While we don’t have the details shared by Shaw confirmed, it appears Jagger’s death may be another tragedy where epinephrine was not administered right away.

The school district confirms Jagger’s death, but is not commenting so far on the cause or the details of what happened. “There’s currently an investigation going on,” the communications director for the district told Omaha’s KETV station.

‘I Hope He Didn’t Feel Alone’

According to Shaw’s post, Jagger was taken to the local hospital, but the anaphylaxis progressed quickly and critical medical issues arose, with the teen’s heart having to be restarted, and his brain swelling.  

The post says the young man was urgently transported to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. While the bigger center’s intensive care unit got the teen onto a ventilator, his father wrote that oxygen deprivation and worsening swelling had severely injured his son’s brain. After scans, doctors told the family, including his mom, stepmom and twin brother, that Jagger had neglible brain activity. They gave him no chance of recovery.

Shaw writes that his son “fought very hard.” After the breathing tube was removed, Jagger passed away, surrounded by his family. “I hope he didn’t feel alone when he died, and he knew somehow that we were with him,” wrote the father.

Allergic Living has for over a decade advocated in our reporting that using epinephrine early can prevent tragedies. In their messaging through the Red Sneakers for Oakley Foundation, the Debbs family promotes the mantra: “Epi First, Epi Fast”. That’s a message they had not been informed of at the time their son Oakley died of anaphylaxis in 2016. They tell the world now.

As we share in the grief for Jagger and his family, as a community, let’s relentlessly continue to spread the message that epinephrine is a safe medicine. And given promptly, it can saves lives.

Related Reading
Dr. Sharma on: How Do I Know When to Use the Auto-Injector?
Anaphylaxis But No Epinephrine: An Epidemic of Hesitation
All About Epinephrine: When to Use, What if It Gets Hot or Cold?
Girl With Milk Allergy Dies of Severe Reaction