Another peanut allergy death

Posted on: Mon, 06/16/2003 - 11:38pm
river's picture
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Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

There was another death, (of course these are only the ones that make the paper), in Florida.

The frustrating thing is that, ALL PEANUT ALLERGY DEATHS ARE PREVENTABLE.

This man was taking a huge risk eating at a buffet and an even bigger risk eating Chinese food. It says that he was "cautious" about what he ate, yet it is obvious from his actions that he was not educated in cross contamination issues or the potential for sudden anaphylaxis. It also sounds like he did not carry an epipen.

Why is the information about peanut allergies not getting out there?

I'm just so angry every time I read about these senseless and needless deaths.

[url="http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee/news/local/6091392.htm"]http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee/news/local/6091392.htm[/url]

FSU athletics adviser Schmauch, 29, dies
By Gerald Ensley
DEMOCRAT SENIOR WRITER

A popular Florida State athletics official and former star athlete, Matt Schmauch, died unexpectedly Friday while attending a national convention in St. Louis.

Schmauch died of an apparent allergic reaction while attending the National Association of Academic Advisers for Athletics' annual convention. He was 29.

Schmauch was FSU's assistant athletic academic adviser, in charge of overseeing the academic performance of men's football and women's basketball student-athletes.

"Our players adored him; he was like an older brother," said FSU women's basketball coach Sue Semrau. "It was not only the professional side of him but the personal side. He was there for all the things you need when you're going through college as an athlete."

Schmauch was one of seven FSU administrators attending the national convention, including Mark Meleney, director of athletic academic support services. Contacted in St. Louis, Meleney said Schmauch had a well-known allergy to peanuts and was "always cautious about what he ate."

Meleney said Schmauch and fellow FSU adviser Kevin White were eating lunch at a Chinese buffet in the St. Louis Hyatt Union Station, the convention hotel, when Schmauch began to feel ill. Meleney said Schmauch got up to go to his room, but apparently got only part of the way before he turned around and returned to the dining room where he collapsed.

Paramedics arrived in less than five minutes and began working on Schmauch, then took him to a hospital. Meleney said Schmauch never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. A medical examiner Saturday ruled the cause of death as heart failure.

Schmauch was a high-school All-American swimmer in Allen Park, Mich. He was recruited to the University of Florida, where he spent one year before transferring to FSU. He lettered three seasons for FSU (1994-1996) and was team captain his senior year. He posted FSU Top 10 career times in three events (200-meter breast stroke, 200-meter individual medley and 400-meter individual medley). He was an Academic All-American and two-time member of the Atlantic Coast Conference Honor Roll.

He earned his bachelor's degree in finance in 1995 and a master's degree in athletic administration in 1996. Meleney hired him as head of the athletics tutorial program in fall 1996 and promoted him to assistant academic adviser in 1998, in charge of football and women's basketball.

Though he often butted heads with football players with lackadaisical class habits, Schmauch helped push many to graduation. Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson, a Quincy native, credited Schmauch with persuading him to complete his degree in 2001 after Jackson left FSU for the NFL in 1999.

"Matt brought a tough love to his job," Meleney said. "He pushed the guys to grow up and be accountable for what they did in the classroom. Some of the most unprepared student-athletes came to love him because they learned he was in their corner."

Semrau agreed.

"With Matt, it wasn't just about getting student-athletes through school," she said. "He understood if you developed more as a person, you developed more as an athlete and a student. He always put the person first."

Florida State quarterback Chris Rix said Schmauch will be missed.

"He's irreplaceable," Rix said. "He always wanted the best out of other people. I know the guys on the team are going to miss him. He would stay on guys if you miss something. He wanted the best for you and out of you."

Schmauch is survived by his mother, Janis, and a younger brother, Brien.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 12:54am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

This really hits home for me because the death occured here in St. Louis at a well-known facility. We have been there many times. And the hospital this man was taken to was most likely the one at which my husband works. I did not see it reported in any of our papers here, but will search.
Thanks for posting this river.

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 1:08am
Peg541's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Was this death from PA or heart failure? Maybe the illness he was feeling was a heart attack. They did not say he had any obvious signs of allergic reaction?
Peg

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 4:27am
Jana R's picture
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Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

This story and the one last December about the young lawyer who died from PA has me [b]very[/b] concerned for my 15 year old son. These were college educated men who should be intelligent enough to keep themselves safe. I know the lawyer didn't have his epi-pen on hand and it doesn't sound like Matt Schmauch did either. I really wish Dey would make the pens smaller and easier to carry - I think men would keep them with them if they slipped into a pocket. River, your point is well taken - why did he feel it was safe to eat Chinese buffet???

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 4:34am
river's picture
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Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

Peg, what I understand of anaphylactic shock is that in the worst case it can result in cardiac arrest. It's just the ultimate and final symptom.

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 4:45am
Jana R's picture
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Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

I just wrote the reporter of the above article and here is his reply - of course I'll post again if there is any more on the topic:
[i]Ms. Robertson:
Reporter Janie Nelson is writing a story about this subject (and I will pass along your e-mail in case she wants to contact you).
I'm told he had an Epi-Pen but did not carry it at all times. Such as this one.
Gerald Ensley[/i]
Jana Robertson wrote:
As the mother of a severely food allergic teen boy and was very saddened to read about Mr. Schmauch.I am always looking for additional ways I need to educate my son to keep himself safe and I was wondering if you knew anything more about his cause of death (or knew whom I should contact). I am particularly wanting to know if this man carried an Epi-pen at all times and if it was used and didn

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 5:28am
erik's picture
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Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Jana R:
[b]This story and the one last December about the young lawyer who died from PA has me very concerned for my 15 year old son. These were college educated men who should be intelligent enough to keep themselves safe. I know the lawyer didn't have his epi-pen on hand and it doesn't sound like Matt Schmauch did either.[/b]
Hi Jana,
I can see how this would make you very nervous for your son. To give you some reassurance, I am a 37 year old male who has kept myself safe, and I do carry an epi-pen with me anytime I go out to eat.
The most important thing is if you are not sure if something is safe, do not eat it. Always ask about food. I assume there must have been a satay dish or some type of peanut dish in the buffet. The other importtant thing is ensure your son does not eat any baked good unless he is absolutely certain they are safe. Baked goods are a major risk as peanuts are used in so many bakeries.

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 6:02am
Peg541's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by river:
[b]Peg, what I understand of anaphylactic shock is that in the worst case it can result in cardiac arrest. It's just the ultimate and final symptom.[/b]
Yes, they were not clear though, did his PA and anaphylaxis cause the heart failure? Although they mentioned he was PA they were not very clear.
He could have just had a heart attack. But I assume since they mentioned his PA they meant anaphylaxis leading to heart failure.
Peg

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 7:37am
Jana R's picture
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Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by erik:
[b] To give you some reassurance, I am a 37 year old male who has kept myself safe, and I do carry an epi-pen with me anytime I go out to eat. [/b]
Thanks Erik - actually I did think of you when I was once again starting to panic about adult men not taking the necessary precautions and dying because of that. You prove it can be done! Can I ask how you carry your epi-pen. My son doesn't like fanny packs and he doesn't want to wear an epi-belt or snap on a dangly apparatus to his belt loop - he usually just puts it in his pocket and right now he's really good at not leaving home without it. He doesn't remember his last reaction (he was only 11 months old) so I wonder if he'll get lackadaisical especially if it's incovenient to carry. I comfort myself by reminding myself for instance that when he went shopping a couple days ago for new shorts, he made sure the pockets were deep enough for the pen. But I don't think I'll ever feel he will always make wise decisions about how to be prepared for an emergency. Right now it's really rare that we feel safe for him to eat bakery items anyways - he's also severely allergic to milk and eggs so most bakery items are off limits. So then I worry when he's living away from home and not wanting to take the time to bake for himself, will he chance a bakery???
Sorry to ramble off the topic of Matt Schmauch!

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 9:22am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Peg541:
[b] Yes, they were not clear though, did his PA and anaphylaxis cause the heart failure? Although they mentioned he was PA they were not very clear.
He could have just had a heart attack. But I assume since they mentioned his PA they meant anaphylaxis leading to heart failure.
Peg[/b]
This confused me, too. I wondered why the medical examiner didn't rule the cause of death as "anaphylaxis"?

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 11:14am
Peg541's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Probably somewhere on the death certificate is a secondary cause which they might have listed as anaphylaxis.
Ana. is a collection of symptoms a syndrome that often results in heart failure. They usually list the actual cause of death first and then what led to it.
And I am so sorry to be discussing this poor young man's death so blithely. I certainly send my sympathies to his family.
Peggy

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