PA teen death in Australia

Posted on: Sat, 03/23/2002 - 4:08am
Jana R's picture
Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00


Fatal reaction
By Matthew Thompson and AAP
March 23 2002
Sydney Morning Herald

The death of 14-year old Hamidur Rahman from eating peanut butter has renewed calls for a statewide allergy strategy in schools.

The Hinchinbrook teenager, a student at Hurlstone Agricultural College, died during a Year-8 excursion to Yanco in the NSW Riverina on Wednesday night.

Dr Robert Loblay, allergy unit director at the Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said the tragedy highlighted the urgent need for a school plan to cope with potentially lethal allergic reactions.

He said a meeting of education department and health experts last year failed to make any progress on an allergy training program for teachers, because many teachers were alarmed by the responsibility.

Legal and medical fears

A pediatrician with the allergy unit, Dr Velencia Soutter, who was also at that meeting, said training teachers in allergy response first requires overcoming their fears - both legal and medical.

"We surveyed school teachers and they don't want to be responsible for giving injections - they're worried about liability and just plain needle-phobia," said Dr Velencia Soutter, a consultant pediatrician with the allergy unit who also attended the meeting.

"Teachers feel it is not their role. Some were saying 'Do you really need to fuss that much?'

Parents don't want children singled out

"Currently the kids are dealt with on an individual basis - with one or two people at the school who know the children and are prepared to give the Epipan [adrenaline] injection, but there are [children] in the school system who are not known or whose parents haven't informed the school - they don't want their child to be singled out.

"Ideally teachers should think of it as first aid and not some exotic medical intervention," said Dr Soutter.

Peanut allergy increasing

Another problem is that untrained teachers may be too slow to call an ambulance because they do not recognise the symptoms of severe allergic reactions, Dr Soutter said.

The prevalance of peanut allergies has increased, said Dr Soutter, and whereas "ten years ago a school having an allergic child was rare, now every school has one," she said

Doctors are unsure why, but increasing nut consumption may be a factor: "Mothers are eating a lot more nuts and peanuts," said Dr Soutton.

"Twenty or thirty years ago they were a Christmas treat - now with all the health consciousness, you know, eggs are bad for cholestoral, jam is too salty, meat is bad - peanut butter has been promoted as a healthy alternative for snacks - and it is allergenic stuff," she said.

Allergy symptoms

The majority of allergic reactions to peanuts are mild and usually include hives, eczema and vomiting.

However, people with greater sensitivity can develop a potentially deadly condition known as anaphylaxis.

In these cases death can occur within minutes from acute asthma, throat swelling, a sudden drop in blood pressure caused by allergic shock or heart failure.

Allergic reactions can be treated by an injection of adrenalin. People who know they have an allergy are advised to carry around a spring-loaded needle, or Epipen, which is automatically activated when pressed against the upper leg or stomach.

Because of the wide use of peanuts in processed food they can be hard to avoid and even trace elements, on the serrations of a knife for example, can trigger a reaction.

Even a kiss can spark reaction

For some people, a kiss from someone who has been eating peanuts or even the smell of the nuts can cause problems.

According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy the average nut-allergic person will have an accidental exposure every couple of years.

Many people will grow out of childhood peanut allergies while for others the symptoms decrease with age.

Australian laws require that any product containing peanuts or peanut traces must be labelled.

Genetic technologists working in the agricultural field say they have the technology to help selectively breed out peanuts containing allergens in the future.

Posted on: Sat, 03/23/2002 - 9:28am
river's picture
Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

Where do these morons get information like:
"The majority of allergic reactions to peanuts are mild and usually include hives, eczema and vomiting."

Posted on: Sun, 04/28/2002 - 9:58am
darthcleo's picture
Joined: 11/08/2000 - 09:00

and this one:
Many people will grow out of childhood peanut allergies while for others the symptoms decrease with age.

Posted on: Mon, 04/29/2002 - 10:41pm
katiee's picture
Joined: 05/09/2001 - 09:00

How tragic for this child's family. I wonder if attempts were made to properly treat him? Was the epi given? Did he have one available? Did they even know he had an allergy? It's just so damned sad.

Posted on: Thu, 11/04/2004 - 5:15am
momma2boys's picture
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

raising for jason

Posted on: Thu, 09/08/2005 - 11:51pm
Jana R's picture
Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

More information:
[i][b]Findings into peanut death handed down[/b]
18:29 AEST Fri Sep 9 2005
Sydney schoolboy Hamidur Rahman knew to avoid peanuts, but had no idea eating them could kill him.
So when he was challenged to swallow a mouthful of peanut butter during a game at school camp, he went ahead.
The 13-year-old died from anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction, at Leeton in south-west NSW in March 2002.
Delivering her findings from an inquest, Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge recommended staff at all NSW schools, preschools and child care centres undergo education and training to counter the kind of ignorance that led to Hamidur's death.
Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt apologised to the teenager's family, vowing the government would do all it could to prevent a similar tragedy.
"My words can't bring Hamidur back, my words can't alleviate the grief of the family, but I do apologise to them," she said.
Hamidur's peanut allergy was never properly diagnosed, Glebe Coroner's Court was told.
Neither his parents, nor his teachers at Hurlstone Agricultural High School, realised it could prove fatal.
Ms Milledge said it was a "critical error" that his allergies and asthma were treated by a homeopath, who was unaware of the close link between those illnesses and anaphylaxis, and had not suggested he see a doctor or specialist for proper assessment.
Hamidur would have felt peer pressure to eat the peanut butter, but "unfortunately he didn't know that a tiny portion could bring about a life-threatening reaction", Ms Milledge said.
The teachers who tried to revive him did not initially recognise his condition and were not equipped to deal with the emergency.
And while Hamidur's mother had warned the teacher organising the camp, Jennifer Jackson, that he could not eat peanuts, Ms Jackson failed to inform other staff.
Ms Milledge said it was a "deadly oversight" that the information was not taken into account when planning the peanut butter challenge, and it was hard to believe that in 2002 educators could have been ignorant of the seriousness of allergies.
The NSW Education Department, which first distributed information about anaphylaxis to schools in 1996, had been unacceptably slow to develop policy in the area, she said.
Ms Milledge made 17 recommendations to the NSW health and education ministers, and the attorney-general, to prevent future deaths.
She said staff and student training should be implemented immediately in all schools so students at risk could be identified, and anaphylaxis recognised and treated in emergencies.
She also recommended an audit of schools and childcare centres to identify children with allergies, and awareness campaigns for the public and health practitioners.
Ms Milledge also recommended the expansion of a program for nurses to provide allergy training in schools - including the use of the EpiPen, which administers intra-muscular injections of adrenaline in anaphylactic emergencies.
Less than 10 per cent of about 3,000 schools statewide have so far benefited from the program because of limited resources.
Anaphylaxis Australia president Maria Said welcomed the recommendations.
"There's no cure for food allergy; it's education that's going to help with management, and that's what we're stepping ahead with," she said.
Anaphylaxis expert Robert Loblay said the lack of awareness of food allergies was a national problem.
"There's a dismal lack of services in other states for diagnosing allergies and no other state has an established mechanism for educating and training teachers and child care workers," he said.
"Things have to move forward much more rapidly, much more effectively, if we're going to prevent another tragic death like this."[/i]

Posted on: Fri, 09/09/2005 - 1:05am
synthia's picture
Joined: 10/05/2002 - 09:00

Ignorance caused peanut butter death
From: By Lisa Davies
September 10, 2005
THE death of a boy from an allergic reaction to peanut butter while on a school camp has prompted a coroner to call for every child to be screened for allergies.
Deputy NSW Coroner Jacqueline Milledge also put the State Government on notice to ensure every teacher is trained to deal with allergic reactions.
She issued a raft of tough recommendations yesterday as she released findings into the death of 13-year-old Hamidur Rahman from Hinchinbrook in Sydney's southwest.
A severe allergy sufferer, Hamidur died of anaphylactic shock in March 2002 after eating a fork laden with peanut butter while on a school camp in Leeton with Hurlstone Agricultural High School.
Despite his mother having told his teachers that he could not eat peanuts,[b] Hamidur ate the spread as part of a game with other students out of peer pressure,[/b] Ms Milledge said.
Mr and Mrs Rahman are now pursuing legal action against the Department of Education.
In a 17-point list of recommendations, Ms Milledge also said all staff at NSW schools, preschools and childcare centres should receive allergy awareness training as a priority.
Ms Milledge said no one - not Hamidur, his parents or any of his teachers - knew allergic reactions could be fatal.
"It is hard to believe that in 2002 educators could be ignorant of the extent of the problems with allergies, but each and every witness stated they were not aware," she said.
"Hamidur dreamed of achieving good things in life. He wasn't healthy, but he had a remarkable spirit that allowed him to enjoy life and all that it had to offer. The best we can do for Hamidur is to ensure that this does not ever happen again."
Hamidur's parents Siddiqur and Rokeya wept as Ms Milledge handed down her findings at Glebe Coroner's Court.
Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt yesterday apologised to the Rahman family and said schools were now doing everything they could to prevent further deaths.
Ms Milledge said there was "no doubt the response by the Department of Education and Training to Hamidur's death had been slow to ignite", but said she was hopeful that would change.
She commended teachers for their desperate attempts to "help Hamidur cling to life".
Dr Robert Loblay, head of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's allergy unit at said it was up to the State Government to take up the coroner's recommendations.
"The coroner has put the Education Department and the Health Department on notice that things have to move forward much more effectively if we are going to prevent another tragic death," Dr Loblay said.
Bold added
I tell my dd every day on the way to school to [b]never take food from anyone![/b]
All of this is preventable!!
[b]Peer pressure[/b]This is the area I am trying to get across to our school and district.
We need to instill in our children to [b]NEVER[/b] take food from anyone!
Love this site

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