Close call--Cross contaminated martini

Posted on: Sat, 07/31/2004 - 4:07am
Lovey's picture
Joined: 03/22/2004 - 09:00


A near-death experience

Man with severe allergies warns others after being clinically dead on trip to North Carolina


Herald-Tribune staff

Floating in and out of consciousness while lying on the floor in the middle of a mall in North Carolina Tuesday, all John Kriska could think about was getting home to see his four-year-old daughter.

"I could hear her crying. I saw my daughter crying," said Kriska, owner and operator of Moxies in the Prairie Mall. "I knew right then that I couldn't die in North Carolina without seeing Payton again."

After spending his entire life with a deadly allergy to peanuts and peanut oil, the last thing Kriska thought he would have to worry about was ordering a martini during a six-day trip for some golfing and restaurant sampling in Raleigh.

Kriska suffers from anaphylaxis, a severe - sometimes life-threatening - allergic reaction that occurs within minutes of exposure to an offending substance. The person suffering the reaction must receive an immediate injection of epinephine - something Kriska did not have while on vacation.

"I had a really bad feeling before I even left because my epi-pen broke and I didn't have another one. I didn't bother to get another one because I'm always so careful and it was only going to be a couple of days," he said. "I've always had the allergy but the older I get, the worse it has gotten and it can be fatal within five to 15 minutes."

The offending martini - espresso flavoured - had been mixed in a blender that had been used to make a drink with Butterfinger chocolate bar pieces and hadn't been cleaned. Kriska knew he was in trouble within minutes as his breathing changed and he began to feel sick.

"I ran into a security guard and asked him to call an ambulance. I was standing, collapsed and then blacked out. My partner, who is from Boston, was with me and thought he was watching me die," he said, adding paramedics told him he turned purple and had no pulse for nearly two minutes.

"It was the scariest moment of my life. I knew I was going to die. There's nothing worse in the world because there's nothing you can do about it."

After being revived by emergency personnel at the hospital in Raleigh, Kriska was back on his feet and heading for home within 2 1/2 hours of drinking the martini.

This wasn't the first time Kriska has been close to death. Almost exactly 15 years ago the same thing happened and he wants to make sure he never goes through it again.

"I was hooped. You start to get a little lax with it. All it takes is something like that to make you realize what's important. People who suffer from this have to stress how important it is and make sure everyone around you knows," said Kriska.

"Sharing what happened to me might save someone else's life. I was clinically dead in a hospital in North Carolina but now I'm back. It's a great feeling to be alive. Seeing my daughter again was amazing. I love life and I'm always going to be the guy with a smile and a skip in his step. When you die twice, you realize what's trivial and what's important."

Posted on: Sat, 07/31/2004 - 5:37am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Why the heck did the hospital release him so fast?
What a sobering (pardon my choice of words) article. Should be mandatory reading.
Thanks for posting it Lovey.
[This message has been edited by Going Nuts (edited July 31, 2004).]

Posted on: Sat, 07/31/2004 - 5:55am
synthia's picture
Joined: 10/05/2002 - 09:00

Thanks Lovey!!
I am really being to understand this allergy.
Love this site
[This message has been edited by synthia (edited July 31, 2004).]

Posted on: Sat, 07/31/2004 - 10:39am
e-mom's picture
Joined: 04/23/2000 - 09:00

Wow! What an incredible story.
I honestly believe that the stats on peanut allergic people is wrong. I feel that there are loads more out there that are "just careful". Fortunately, for him AND his family he was able to be brought back to life.
I, too, am surprised at the short stay at the hospital.
The article also left something out. Whether or not they used epinephrine on him when he got to the hospital or if it was used in the ambulance. I assume that it was used by the paramedics.
It makes me wish that I had the allergy instead of my son. I would hate for him to have to go through something like that ever. [img][/img]

Posted on: Sat, 07/31/2004 - 12:31pm
SF's picture
Joined: 06/06/2002 - 09:00

Thanks for posting this article!
Among other things, this is a terrific reminder of the many ways food and drink can be cross contaminated. My PA son is 6 1/2 so cocktails have never crossed my mind, but this is a great example of how careful we must be and always ask many PA related questions before injesting anything!

Posted on: Sun, 08/01/2004 - 9:41am
Kathy L.'s picture
Joined: 07/30/1999 - 09:00

Yet another thing I have to remember for when my daughter gets older - bar drinks!
I bet this guy will *always* have his epi-pen from now on.

Posted on: Sun, 08/01/2004 - 11:56pm
jtolpin's picture
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

Wow! Who would've guessed...

Posted on: Mon, 08/02/2004 - 10:55am
Scooby's picture
Joined: 04/09/2000 - 09:00

Was shopping for ingredients for martinis for DH and I recently and discovered almond-stuffed olives. Now wondering about the risk of cross contamination with the regular pimento type that DS likes. Hmmmmm. He is also TNA.
Anyway, glad the guy is OK now. Hope he got a new epipen!

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