Multiple news agencies are reporting the story of Elijah Silvera, a 3-year-old boy who died at his nursery school after being fed a grilled cheese sandwich. The young child suffered from a severe dairy allergy, and the cheese in the sandwich put him into anaphylactic shock. Investigators are still at work determining whether or not the hospital could have done more to save him, but it is already clear the preschool badly mismanaged the situation.
The first thing the school did wrong is obvious. Feeding a cheese sandwich to a child with a severe dairy allergy is clearly dangerous. It is not yet known whether the staff was aware of the allergy or not, though the parents made the school aware. Whether or not all the individuals working with the child were properly trained will require additional information. It is also unclear whether or not a list of children’s allergies was posted or available to staff.
But even after the child was fed the sandwich and became ill, the preschool neglected to call 911, instead of making a call to the mother. It was the child’s mother who took him to the emergency room, but by then he was going into anaphylaxis, and his life was at risk. Though epinephrine is often successful in treating anaphylactic shock, there is no guarantee, especially when so much time elapsed between exposure to the allergen and treatment.
Food allergies can be amongst the most dangerous of all allergies. In addition to dairy allergies, nut allergies can be fatal. For this reason, schools and preschools heavily restrict access to foods once an allergy has been identified. In a scenario where a child has a life-threatening allergy, those foods should be locked up. But in this case, clearly, major mistakes were made.
If your child has been injured due to negligence, it is important you hold the negligent party to account, whether it be a school, a daycare, or a medical provider. Too many people take things like food allergies lightly, not recognizing the potentially fatal consequences of exposure. Please contact an experienced attorney to discuss your case.