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Just one (life ending) mistake

Has 30 years experience.

TakeTwoAspirin, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in Peri-op/Sub-Acute ANP.

No I do not feel the family should sue the restaurant. People with severe allergies like his need to take some responsibility for their own condition. They know the risks of cross-contamination in restaurants exists. Once they realized that the boy had forgotten his epi pen and inhaler, they should have packed up their stuff and gone home. I also don't understand why, once he started having a reaction, they didn't call 911 instead of wait and take him home so that he could use his epi and inhaler.

Don't get me wrong, I do feel bad that this happened, but when you have severe allergies (and I do) you know the risks in restaurants and you make sure you are prepared for those risks.

nrsang97, BSN, RN

Has 19 years experience. Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg.

I have mixed feelings. I believe that they should have had an epi pen and called 911 at the restaurant rather than drive home get said epi pen then go to the ER.

I know not all restaurant employees know truly what is in the food that is served. It is possible that it could have been cross contaminated.

My friend's parents had a dinner for her after she graduated from college. We went to a nice Italian restaurant. Her brother in law is severely allergic to dairy. They put butter on his beans, and it ran onto his steak. The waiter told him to go ahead and eat the steak and he would bring a new plate of beans. He had to request that the whole meal was made over due to his allergy. I'm glad the waiter took him seriously.

BrandonLPN, LPN

Has 5 years experience.

This is going to sound unkind and ungenerous, but if my child had a known fatal allergy to dairy products, I wouldn't be very likely to take a restaurant's word for anything. Plus they took the restaurant's word for it, and forgot to bring his EpiPen with them. I suspect they are trying to blame the restaurant because deep down they blame themselves.

AtHomeNurse

Has 16 years experience.

How awful.

Yes, the resteraunt holds a small bit of the blame. But, who in their right mind takes a kid with life threatening food allergies out to eat, and leaves the epi pen at home?!?! Part of me thinks the lawsuit is to ease the parents guilt. They should have brought an epi pen, and given sooner could have saved his life. It sucks.

First of all, this is a very sad /heartbreaking situation! I can only imagine what this family is going through! May their son RIP. However, I believe people who have severe allergic reactions to food, should not consume at restaurant, work, parties etc. I understand this is not easy, and can make life seem boring, but you can't trust anyone but yourself! I can only imagine how hard it is to read all the labels before you cook or eat something! Not everyone is an expert when it comes to food, you don't always know what is in it. Restaurants are busy places, employees forget orders, mix up the orders, just like nurses giving the wrong med or a med to a pt who is allergic to it! I feel bad for people who have a lot of food allergies, life is even harder for them!

psu_213, BSN, RN

Has 6 years experience. Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant.

I have mixed feelings as well. Perhaps the restaurant screwed up and put dairy into the pancakes--in which case a law suit may be justified.

OTOH, maybe the pancakes didn't have dairy. Maybe they did clean the griddle before cooking the pancakes. Then, somewhere between the kitchen and the table a speck of dairy ended up on the plate. Perhaps the speck got on the plate from a relative at the table who "cross contaminated." There seems to be way too many variables outside of the restaurant's control that could have caused this--in those cases it would not be the restaurant's fault and they should not be sued.

I know I run the risk of sounding like a cold hearted jerk by saying this--there is some issues with the family too. If the allergy is that severe, the parents have to triple check that he has his Epipen with him when he goes out--especially for a meal. With that severe of an allergy, you have to activate EMS at the first sign of a reaction. While I don't want to blame the "victim(s)," they do have some responsibility in this. :down:

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Has 9 years experience. Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

This is exactly the kind of lawsuit that makes life hell for so many.

No, the restaurant is not at fault. I do not see how this would not be thrown out of court. The person has allergies. They also carry things around to deal with that because they KNOW that accidental exposures can and do occur. Yet this time they chose not to bring those things and the person died as a result. The exposure was accidental, not negligent, not intentional and not even proven to have come from the restaurant itself. They acknowledge this risk and didn't protect themselves. The restaurant isn't to blame.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in OR, education.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? If the child's reaction was so severe that he had not only an Epipen but also a nebulizer, then why were those critical items left at home? And then why did they take the time to go home and get these items when the reaction occurred instead of immediately calling 911, when an ambulance most likely carrying epi would have arrived much sooner? The server didn't just answer off the top of her head but checked with the cook as well. I can't see any element of intent or negligence that would make this lawsuit justifiable.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? If the child's reaction was so severe that he had not only an Epipen but also a nebulizer, then why were those critical items left at home? And then why did they take the time to go home and get these items when the reaction occurred instead of immediately calling 911, when an ambulance most likely carrying epi would have arrived much sooner? The server didn't just answer off the top of her head but checked with the cook as well. I can't see any element of intent or negligence that would make this lawsuit justifiable.

This^^^

What got my attention was the fact he forgot his epipen. Like you said, whatever happened to personal responsibility. Now they could ruin someone's livelihood because of their negligence. Frivolous lawsuit IMO and this is what makes it bad for those who have legitimate claims against someone or a business.

I hope their state has caps on wrongful death if they do win.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab.

I feel terrible for the family, the boy was young. But he was old enough to know that he had to carry his EpiPen AND nebulizer. He had been living with the allergic reaction all his live, so it's not something new he was diagnosed with.

I know the family will probably win the lawsuit but it just doesn't seem right to me. Even as a parent, if my teenaged son had an allergic reaction that bad why wouldn't they keep the medication with them at all times?

Why don't people take responsibility any more?

I am not an attorney and don't play one on AllNurses.

But.

Two words: Contributory negligence. Especially if he had any history of using the EpiPen successfully in the past.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Has 20 years experience. Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

I too wonder why the parents didn't have the EpiPen or the nebulizer with them. Anyone who's ever raised a teenager knows how inconsistent and forgetful they are, and they shouldn't be trusted to take full responsibility for these things even if it's in their own best interests. This was literally a matter of life or death. Why blame the restaurant?

Angeljho, MSN, NP

Specializes in Mental Health Nursing.

Watch the family will end up winning and then try to send some bogus message about how all restaurants should better prepare for persons with severe allergies. I'm sorry for what happened, but the family (the WHOLE family) was negligent - THAT was the mistake here.

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 8 years experience. Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes.

Boy, what a tough crowd!!! Not a lot of sympathy here. :(

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab.

Boy, what a tough crowd!!! Not a lot of sympathy here. :(

I believe there is sympathy for the family. But they need to take responsibly for their lack of action.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Has 20 years experience. Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

Plus the fact that they're suing the restaurant for something that was none of its doing, makes it a little hard to feel terribly sorry on their behalf. These cases tie up valuable court time and give meaning to the term "frivolous lawsuit", of which we already know there's too many in this country. I feel bad that they lost their son, but it was a preventable death and they should take some responsibility for it.

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics.

I have food and a sulfa allergy. My food allergy is easier...bananas. But sulfa/sulfates is a bit more difficult. I carry my EpiPen 2 pack, Benadryl (pill and liquid) Pepcid, ventolin and a small bottle of water EVERYWHERE. Usually if it's a small amount Benadryl & Pepcid plus a discussion with the manager to see additives & ingredients to know what may have been the culprit (often an unlisted wine or spice blend (especially Cajun spices)

It's my job to keep myself alive.

It's the restaurant's job to be forthcoming about known allergens. Most have a statement about risks of offsite or onsite cross contamination or non allergy safe prep potential.

If the waitstaff did not convey the allergy to the kitchen or inadvertent cross contamination maybe 5-10% culpability. Family has 90-95% or 100% culpability for failing to take precautions of having an EpiPen & rescue drugs on hand, failure to call EMS, failure to send to ED in a timely fashion.

It's heartbreaking that a child has died however that doesn't make the restaurant at fault.

I am the mom of a child with a life threatening food allergy. He is much younger than the child this happened to. My son knows the rule is No epi, no eating. PERIOD. No exceptions, I don't care who made it or how "safe" it is. He always wears one around his waist, I carry one in my purse, the school nurse also has one.

I know what it's like to see my son go into anaphlaxis. He doesn't have reactions that are only hives. You can't go anywhere without your child's life saving medications. If you realize you don't have them you turn your car around. You never know when a reaction can occur.

I feel terribly for this family. It's a horrible thing to lose a child, even worse when it was most likely preventable. I don't think it's the restaurants fault, this poor boy shouldn't have eaten since he didn't have his medications.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in Pedi.

I too wonder why the parents didn't have the EpiPen or the nebulizer with them. Anyone who's ever raised a teenager knows how inconsistent and forgetful they are, and they shouldn't be trusted to take full responsibility for these things even if it's in their own best interests. This was literally a matter of life or death. Why blame the restaurant?

Precisely. If I had a kid with severe allergies, that EpiPen would never leave my purse. Same with Diastat if I had a kid with epilepsy or glucagon for the diabetic kid. Yes, he is a teenager but since he is under 18, his care is still the parents' responsibility.

For what it's worth, I would never expect any restaurant pancakes to be dairy free. And did anyone else notice in the video there's a clip of him holding a coldstone creamery cup? It's very sad that a child is dead but, honestly, I think the family bears more of a blame than the restaurant. They knew he had an allergy, they didn't bring the EpiPen. They knew he was having trouble and instead of calling 911, they chose to drive home (who knows how far that was) and waste critical time.

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