Blog: Preventable allergy deaths and why they’re on the rise

6th November 2019

Written by Fletchers Solicitor’s Medical Negligence Solicitor, Francesca Paul

The inquest into teenager Shante Turay-Thomas began at St Pancras Coroner’s Court this week.

Those present heard that the 18-year-old told her mother “I’m going to die” after a suspected allergic reaction.

Turay-Thomas died at her home in Wood Green, North London in September 2018 after eating food thought to contain hazelnuts.

Things took a turn for the worse after the ambulance went to the wrong address and her adrenaline pen failed, the court heard.

When Ms Turay-Thomas eventually arrived at hospital, she died within a matter of hours.

“Shante’s death has left a hole in our family,” her mother told the BBC.

Food allergy transparency

Firstly, Ms Turay-Thomas’ death is not uncommon.

Owen Carey and Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after suffering anaphylactic reactions. Why? They both ate food containing contents they were severely allergic to.  

In short, we now believe the pair were misled in respect of the ingredients that they had ingested.

Nuts are commonly associated with food allergies

Since their deaths, Natasha’s family set up the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation which campaigns for greater transparency on all food packaging.

Allergy statistics

The number of young people who receive hospital treatment because of allergies has increased by 65 per cent in the last five years.

In addition, food allergies affect about 7% of children in the UK, according to Kings College London,

Sadly, those who suffer from food allergies also have a greater risk of drug allergies.

Food allergies affect about 7% of children in the UK

First-hand experience with allergy cases

Regrettably, I have experience acting for clients who have suffered anaphylactic reactions.

Some cases are because of drug prescription errors and some are a result of food allergies.

I personally live with severe food and drug allergies and I’m required to carry medication in case I fall sick.

I understand the fear that clients experience when suffering from anaphylactic reactions. Moreover, I welcome greater public awareness of allergies.

I hope campaigns such as #NatashasArmy result in fewer deaths from food and drug allergies.

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