Food reaction killed Victorian boy, inquest told
Louis Tate was admitted to Frankston Hospital in October 2015 suffering asthma and was kept in overnight for observations.
The teenager’s mother Gabrielle Catan told a coronial inquest she made hospital staff aware of Louis allergies to milk, nuts and eggs and advised them WeetBix and soy milk would be the safest breakfast option for him.
Louis was given WeetBix and Freedom soy milk, soon after taking a “spoonful” he complained to a nurse that his mouth was tingling.
His mother was notified of this when she called the hospital to check on her son.
Doctors were called to attend to Louis, he was subsequently given four shots of adrenaline before an anaesthetic to assist his breathing.
His devastated parents were informed by the hospital that their son died due to complications with the anaesthetic.
“I thought because we were in the hospital, the medical staff would know exactly how to take care of him,” mother Gabrielle Catan said.
“I didn’t feel I needed to say anaphylaxis was a life-threatening condition.”
Louis’ father Simon Tate said in a statement, “we strongly believe Louis’ death never should have happened. He was in hospital, at a place where he should have been safe. Yet despite us providing clear and concise communications about his food allergies, he died.”
The active teen’s parents hope the coronial inquest will provide answers about the food handling protocols at the hospital and the treatment their son received after experiencing the allergic reaction.
“His death has changed our lives and we continue to struggle every day with the emptiness, loss and circumstances surrounding his death,” Simon Tate said.
The inquest heard evidence from the hospital staff member Irene Fisher, who prepared Louis’ breakfast, that there was no note on a whiteboard about the boy’s allergies as is protocol.
She said his meal and the carton of soy milk were removed after the tragic event.
Louis’ parents also expressed concerns about how long it took medical staff to administer adrenaline after the allergic reaction.
It’s understood he was given the first of 4 shots of adrenaline 10 minutes after first complaining of the reaction.
A senior nurse present on the day gave evidence that prior to Louis’ death nursing staff at Frankston hospital did not receive training or have the authority to give an EpiPen to a patient, they must wait for a doctor to prescribe the adrenaline.
It’s understood this case is the first fatality linked to food preparation in a Victorian hospital.
The inquest is expected to run for three days.
© AAP 2017