‘Allergen’ in school meal caused pupil death

Nasar Ahmed, 14, who died after falling ill in detention had eaten a school dinner he was allergic to before collapsing.

The schoolboy who had multiple allergies and severe asthma, fell ill while at Bow School, Tower Hamlets, in November, an inquest heard. Staff failed to correctly administer his medication before paramedics arrived, the inquest was told.

He ate tandoori chicken made with milk a couple of hours before collapsing, Poplar Coroner’s Court heard earlier. The pupil suffered from severe eczema, asthma and allergies to nuts, milk, fish, wheat, oranges, apples and various meats.

As his condition quickly deteriorated, staff at the school tried to save Nasar. As he struggled for breath, first aider Cherie Hyde placed him in the recovery position. Nasar’s personal first aid box, containing an inhaler and EpiPen was brought by another staff member. Meanwhile, a third staff member was speaking to emergency services via telephone asking for advice.

Tragically, staff failed to administer the EpiPen in the five-minutes it took for paramedics to arrive at the scene, the inquest heard. Ms Hyde told the hearing the boy was not breathing well enough for her to administer the inhaler. An EpiPen can help reverse the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.

Pathologist Dr Liina Palm gave a cause of death as bronchial asthma that led to a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury, with multiple allergies as a contributing factor. However, Dr Palm told the hearing she could not ascertain from the post-mortem examination whether Nasar had died from an asthma attack or an allergic reaction.

At the hearing expert witness, Dr Chinedu Nwokoro stated all schools must be equipped with medical equipment such as inhalers and adrenaline injectors. He said, “You should know where there is one and you should be able to get it in a couple of minutes, the sooner the better. The US have just passed such a law. If they can do it, then we should be able to.”

Coroner Mary Hassell suggested she would be writing to the chief medical officer to highlight her concerns. She said she would be making a number of prevention of future deaths reports as a result of Nasar’s tragic death.

Photograph: Main picture released by family



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