Spokane boy dies from school\'s mistake

Posted on: Sun, 05/20/2001 - 4:13pm
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pI hope I am posting this in the right place and that I am not duplicating anything that's already on the board./p
pAll weekend the news out of Spokane (I think, in Washington, anyway) has been about a third-grader who died from an apparent allergic reaction to peanuts while on a field trip./p
pThere is a concern that nobody reacted quickly enough, not getting him help until two hours later./p
pApparently he was given a peanut-butter cookie on the field trip, DESPITE the fact that the school knew he was PA./p
pFrankly, this scares the crap out of me, and makes me wonder if I'll EVER have the guts to let my son go anywhere without me! How can the schools be so stupid?/p
pAs you can see by my username, I am a teacher (although a full-time stay-at-home-mom now). I am beginning to think that the only way to educate the schools and other parents is to scare them. I am way past being polite and generous. I'm prepared to use threats and to be as obnoxious as I have to be. The schools around here all "brag" that their schools are safe-havens and there is a zero tolerance for violence, etc. Well, I should think that what happened to that child in Spokane is about as violent as it gets./p
pIf anyone knows any more details about what happened in Spokane, please post it. I am in Canada, and am only hearing about it off the TV news./p

Posted on: Sun, 05/20/2001 - 9:46pm
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Here is a link to a newspaper article regarding Nathan's death. I will warn you ahead of time you will be outraged. My deepest sympathy goes out to Nathan's family.
[url="http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=052101&ID=s966469&cat=section.spokane"]http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=052101&ID=s966469&cat=section.spokane[/url]

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 2:17am
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This is horrible. I would like to hear what the investigation turns up. I also would like to think that my child wouldn't have eaten any of it, but it sounds like this boy skipped the sandwich and the trail mix where there were obvious nuts, and I'm sure he was hungry and went for the cookie. I can't imagine what that family is going through. I feel sick to my stomach.

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 2:27am
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My heart goes out to his parents. But what makes me mad is the fact that all schools use this lunch for sack lunches for field trips. We have been in two areas of Calif. due to the military and both school districts use peanutbutter sandwiches for kids who normally buy lunch when they go on fieldtrips. I have just been lucky enough that we have had teachers explain this so that I could plan ahead and make a lunch for Axel on those days. But happen to know from volunttering on his last field trip that if he had forgotten his lunch and they couldn't get ahold of me that would have been what they would have given him. This is because they feel that is easier to make then anything else. I wonder how we would get this changed and if this will have any bearing on this policy. I am also curious for those of us who have children in school how many schools have this policy.
[This message has been edited by yarnwoman (edited May 21, 2001).]

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 2:28am
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I feel sick to my stomach too. How can anyone be that damn dumb to make a lunch for every student in the class consisting of only nuts, especially when there is an allergic child in the class! What did they provide to drink, PB shakes? Or perhaps they just skipped over the milk in the shake and and just drained the oil off of the pb jar and gave that to the kids to drink!

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 2:40am
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Stories like this really scare me: did any of the parents or teachers on this trip pay any attention to the kids? Did not one parent or teacher think about this? It's too late for this boy and his parents, who trusted the school, but I sure hope that the uproar over this gets the people in that school talking to one another, as it should in schools around the country. In my opinion, this is negligence bordering on murder. When I think of how many times I've sent my 12 year old on trips like this, it makes me wonder about the supervision or lack of it and realize that we've just been lucky because his grade school didn't even pretend to be supportive.

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 2:45am
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My deepest sympathy to the family, friends, and classmates of Nathan. I think many who read posts here are in shock about what happened.
Jandy

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 6:14am
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I have feeling horrible about this incident all day. I also am curious as to what the investigation will uncover. It is ironic that I have been thinking about our son starting school eventually and he will be two this August. My husband calls me the world's best volunteer and I can see myself or him going on the school trips as a chaperone. My question is what the hell would this school give a diabetic kid for lunch? A jelly sandwich, sugar cookies, and a lollipop?? I am sorry if that seems rude, but if they (the school) were aware of Nathan's allergy than how could this have happened?
My prayers are with Nathan's parents. I cannot imagine the hell that they are in.

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 7:48am
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Anonymous (not verified)

I just finished using the link provided above to read the story re Nathan. I STRONGLY urge anyone who does read the story to follow up with an e-mail to them - the form is right there at the bottom of the article. You don't have to say a lot. You could simply express your sympathy. But again, we have strength in numbers and I believe Nathan's family may appreciate some strength at what is every PA parent's worst nightmare. Let the people of Spokane, the school system, and Nathan's parents know that you read the article and how you felt! Please! This tragic death should not be ignored and if we are only to contribute something as simple as an e-mail of sympathy to the newspaper, I truly believe it is better than nothing.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 10:08am
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I absolutely agree, Cindy. I just e-mailed them, and hope everyone else does, too. We can make people notice, this was such a senseless tragedy and should not have happened. It really makes my blood run cold.
Beth

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 10:24am
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I definitely agree in emailing them and giving them a piece (politely) of your mind to educate them. (I already emailed them before Cindy posted -- kudos to Cindy for letting everyone know about the post).
Remember, you can not list peanutallergy.com in your email (their rules).
One thing that I got from the article was that the finger pointing has already started.
This is truly a sad story and I can't even imagine what Nathan's parents and family are going through.

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 10:24am
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I live in Spokane and have a PA son. My husband and I were sickened by this incident. I am also a teacher and can't imagine what this family, school and teacher is going through. I certainly hope people will take this allergy seriously now. I am so saddened that it had to take a persons life, before people realize the seriousness of this allergy. I have made decisions with my son, like not taking him to a family easter egg hunt because their would be peanut candy there, and people, along with family members have told me that I need to loosen up and relax a little. They always say we'll keep the peanut products away from him. This incident with Nathan has really opened their eyes. I feel heartbroken about this. I too will email.

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 2:11pm
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KREM2News just called and we discussed peanut allergy, this child's untimely death and many of the issue we face.
I asked if they could put the newscast up on the web for us to see (they are thinking they will do a story on PeanutAllergy.Com in the morning). They told me they will have it up for a week and will check with their web person to see if they can put it up permanently for us.
The person I spoke with explained we have been calling, e-mailing etc. all day. I told him that most of our community probably did not even know yet about the child's death. He wondered if they would be getting a lot more people contacting them after we let our membership know about this tragedy. I told him I did not know about them, but I am sure we will be hearing from many here at the PeanutAllergy.Com office.
We have been very busy today from early morning until just a few minutes ago with phone calls and e-mails regarding this child's death.
I am sure you are experiencing many feelings yourself, if you would like to talk on the phone our number is (207) 766-5292. We are on eastern standard time.
Hope to hear from you soon.
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Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 2:51pm
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I am deeply saddened by this, it has weighed heavy on my mind all day long. My heart goes out to the family.
It is troubling to me also how I am so used to schools not taking this seriously enough, that I am not surprised. My son personally has "dodged so many bullets", and I have heard so many near misses from so many others.
When will the schools give this the time and attention it needs to keep our kids safe????

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 4:49pm
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I am deeply troubled by this horrible news. I have put off responding to this thread all day because I have been too angry, shaken, sickened by the whole thing.
I think we are all in shock from this. We are all aware that anaphylaxis can result in death, but we also all pray that we will never have to face it, whether close to home or in the news. And all I can think to do is hug my baby closer and pray.
My deepest heartfelt sympathy to Nathan's family.
Amy

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 7:07pm
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hello, l have e-mailed too, how lronic that the very day l send my son off a school trip without me that something like this happens.
l have been very pleased with the care they gave to william yesterday, but my thoughts are with Nathans parents,we still have a long way to go educating the world on allergys, lets keep campaigning and fighting to have our voices heard. For children like Nathan. williamsmummy

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 10:00pm
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Here's the link to KREM's website on this tragedy: [url="http://www.krem.com/extra/"]http://www.krem.com/extra/[/url] . They have several video clips, as well as ongoing coverage of the investigation.

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 11:45pm
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My deepest sympathies to Nathan's family. I feel as though it could have been my son that died.
How ignorant of the school that allowed such a thing to happen! Deifinitely, legal action should be taken. They already knew that Nathan was PA and they gave him a sack full of poison!
I am completed outraged that this could happen.
Tina

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 12:02am
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I am saddened and sickened by the whole thing. My son is off on a field trip tomorrow, and unfortunately I am not able to attend with him. Although I know the kids are bringing their own lunches with them, and the same "no nuts" policy will apply, I know I will be terrified all day until I can hold him in my arms again and give him a big hug when he comes home.
I can only begin to imagine what Nate's family are going thru right now. My prayers and thoughts are with them. I am off right now to send my e-mail on the link provided. Thanks for pointing that out Cindy. I read the article earlier and didn't even notice it.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 3:50am
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Anonymous (not verified)

I know that I am still reeling(?) from this news. I wrote about it already under Living with PA re How Did PA Affect Your Day To-Day.
But, also, because Jesse has a school trip next month, that hasn't been announced yet and I only know about because I attended a School Council Meeting last October, to a zoo, I have started threads already asking for advice on how to deal with everything.
I may be totally off base here but I am not sure that I am. If anyone has a child that is going on a field trip before the end of the school year, I would strongly suggest that you send the principal of the school and your child's teacher a copy of the article re Nathan's death. I e-mailed a copy to Jesse's principal this morning. In addition to this, I would also provide the school with the Duty of Care literature. I have posted that on the board here, but I can't remember which thread (I know, what else is new? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img] ), so if anyone cannot find it here, please feel free to e-mail me and I will send you a copy. I do know that another PA parent had sent it to me to begin with. It turned out the day I received it was quite timely because that was when I found out they were serving pizza that may have been unsafe without having checked with me first. So, not only did the principal get a call re the bloody pizza, but she got a nice little e-mail about Duty of Care. Probably made her stand up and notice! Although it is Canadian and may not be entirely valid in the U.S., I believe it will make people stand up and take notice that this is not something to be taken lightly.
A child has died on a field trip. We, as PA parents, should do everything in our power to ensure that another PA child does not die on a field trip before this school year ends.
Also, I'm wondering, and I guess I could e-mail the newspaper that provided the story to begin with, but I would really like to send a Sympathy card to Nathan's family. I'm wondering if the newspaper would accept them in care of the newspaper's address. I just want the family to know that I care, as all us PA parents do. If I get any information at all re this, I will post it here for those people who may be interested in doing the same.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 5:17am
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I am so sad to have heard what happened to Nate and his family. I work as technology support in the elementary school my son attended. Even though I was right here I had epi -pens spread all over the place. I wrote letters to every teacher he had contact with explaining his pa- not to give him anything with out checking the label and if in doubt do not let him have any. He was still given cake, that was brought in by a fellow student to celebrate a birthday, that did not have an ingredient list on the box from the bakery. Thank God there was no peanut products in the cake. I sobbed the whole way home from school that day for what might-have-been. I know we as parents expect our children to be safe in school. I just wish I knew how to protect them all. I was not even able to do that with my son and I was in the building. Trust? I thought I could. Now I am just plain scared most of the time.
Kristina Marie

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 5:35am
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The unfortunate reaction I've been getting from some people is that Nathan's parents must be partly to blame for this. This absolutely makes me see red... First of all, the general public thinks we are over-protective and over-reacting as it is, THEN when this tragedy happens, the parents are blamed for not being vigilant enough?
What is the answer? It shouldn't take a child's death to wake people up to what we face everyday, when our children leave our sight. I posted a response at the above address in the "Comment" section - is that what everyone else is doing, or are you actually e-mailing the writer? I can't find my comment anywhere on the site, but I did notice comments from other PA.com members.
This is a sickening and senseless tragedy that could have been prevented in so many different ways. Absolutely everything that could have gone wrong for Nathan, did. It makes me sick.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 6:44am
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[url="http://kxly.com/common/getStory.asp?id=6978"]http://kxly.com/common/getStory.asp?id=6978[/url]
THe link is to kxly.com 5/22 update on the tragedy, the boy's body is/was autopsied but the results aren't public at time of writing. The school's response will be based on the results of the autopsy.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 7:13am
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Cayley's Mom,
That is exactly what my husband and I were saying to one another last night: We're the hysterical, overprotective parents...until something actually happens, and then we're neglectful and not vigilant enough. The fact is, no matter what kind of precautions the family did or didn't take, someone at the SCHOOL gave peanut butter to a child with a known peanut allergy.
When I think back to my son's bad reaction, NOBODY in ER told me the allergy is potentially life-threatening. Nobody mentioned epi-pen or even Benadryl. The idiot doctor said "Oh, well, he'll probably outgrow it." The only reason I researched PA more is because I had once met a woman in a playgroup whose daughter was PA. She told me all about it and I thought, "How awful! Thank God my kid doesn't have that problem!" Information about PA is sadly lacking, even from medical personnel, and it is very possible that many many parents with PA kids don't understand the potential severity of the problem (in fact I have met one who is blissfully unaware, and whose allergist has advised her not to worry about "may contain" because she's never seen anyone have a bad reaction from it! Some allergist.). It is very unfair to blame Nate's parents for something that happened at school.
This is very sad for his family. What a nightmare.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 9:14am
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hello all,
my kids got me thinking about Nathan's death and what we could do. they wanted to send a card to his family so I contacted the principal Mallory thomas with the following email:
Dear Ms. Thomas,
You don't know me and I am not invovled with your school district. My name
is Christyn King and I am a parent of a Peanut/treenut allergic child. I would like to know how to send a sympathy card to Nathan Walters parents. I was so saddened to
read on the internet about this tragedy at your school. But feel the need to
share my sympathies with his parents. Can I send it in care of your school or is
there another address? Thank you for answering this at this very upsetting time
in your life.
Sincerely,
--- Christyn King
She wrote back to me a short time ago with the following statement;
You may send it to school and we will see the family gets it. Thank you, M Thomas
I plan to send a card tomorrow. If you want to also the school's address is
1001 E. Montgomery Ave.
Spokane, Wash. 99207
I just want to show the family some sympathy for what they are going through

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 10:05am
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I haven't responded to this since I read it last night. My son and I cried. I have been upset since and even found it hard to work today. I copied the news article and gave a copy to the principal, the school nurse and his teacher. The nurse called me at work thanking me profusely for the article "it's like a kick in the stomach" she said to me. It is easy to sometimes let our guard down when everything is OK but this story makes us realize that we never can. I asked Michael (my 8 1/2 yr old PA son) what he felt about this article; which he read and his reaction was "I am very very very sad for the boy who died but I am very very very mad that the school let this happen and why didn't his mommy make him his lunch?" His quote not mine. My heart aches and I am so grieve stricken that I'm finding it hard to function. This hits too close to home. I was talking to my boss about it and he was upset but I said to him it is as if we are kindred spirits and unless you have a child or are PA its a feeling I cannot describe. I feel I lost one of my own. We will be sending a sympathy card but I do feel this is inadequate to show how broken my heart is. I don't think I'm mad now just full of grief but I'm sure the anger will come. I am crying even now. OH GOD WHY!!!!!

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 10:09am
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Yarnwoman, thanks for posting the address. I too wanted to send a card.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 11:52am
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My peanut allergic son just graduated from the Spokane School District. This has been hard for me to deal with, because it brought back so many bad memories about the careless and cavalier attitude I encountered when I tried to convince (beg) the staff to take his situation seriously. I was told I was 'over-reacting' (the principal), another time he was give a PB sandwich when he forgot his lunch money, and not allowed to call home. They refused to consider a PB free lunch table. For epi-pen presentations, half of his teachers didn't show up, and those who did corrected papers for 20 minutes, then left. The presentation was not repeated for the next semester's teachers. On and on. I think the problem is that parents are perceived as 'over-protective', and hysterical. By the way, I understand the epipen was given to Nathan, but only an hour after he ate the cookie(which apparently looked like a sugar cookie), while he laid on the school bus waiting for his class to finish the field trip.
I wish I could be more optimistic for you younger moms with young kids, but I went through this 15 years ago with my son, and I am so sad that no one has learned a thing....
A good website would be [url="http://www.NWCN.com"]http://www.NWCN.com[/url]

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 1:00pm
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I have been out of touch with peanutallergy.com for a few months but thanks to Cindy e-mailing me an article about this terrible tragedy, I am reconnecting. I have been on for the past hour reading everyone's posts related to Nathan and I am so saddened. I send my sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Yarnwoman, your post brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful idea. I will be sure to send a card to Nathan's family. I have printed many of the articles and plan to distribute them to my children's schools. I am also having second thoughts about whether my son's camp will be able to handle providing peanut-free snacks. They assured me that's all they serve but after reading about this horrible tragedy, I think I will pack his snacks.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 2:11pm
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What happened on Nathan's field trip made me sad. Then, as I found out more - sad became angry, and angry became furious. Why is this topic referred to as a mistake? These people KNEW. They had in their care a peanut allergic child, they were at least to a degree aware of what a peanut allergy could do, and they had been given the medication to use in case of an emergency. So what do they do they give him a lunch with no less than three items containing peanuts or peanut products. When he becomes ill and has trouble breathing they escort him to the bus and keep him there until time to leave. When they take him off the bus he's worse so they decide to take him home instead of a hospital. When his condiction continues to deteriorate they finally decide to seek medical attention. Knowing that he was PA and the contents of the sack lunches it didn't occur to the teacher or chaperone (who was a nurse), to use the epipen for over an hour and a half.
As near as I can tell this is only another manifestation of the lack of concern about peanut allergy which is prevalent in less informed segments of American society. The difference being these people KNEW!

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 2:13pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

yarnwoman, thank-you SO much for posting the address. I had wanted to send a sympathy card to the family as well. It would be interesting to see how the school reacts when they receive sympathy cards for the Walters' family. Of course, we won't know.
Cayley's Mom, I didn't e-mail the reporter directly. I just used the Comments form also. I looked for my post, if you will, and never found it, so I don't know if they simply select what they want to.
Also, it is a very sad commentary on our society, I believe, in that even in a situation such as this some people are still able to "blame the victim". You see this time and time again with different circumstances and I always find it appalling.
To blame a 9 year old child is simply disgusting.
Yes, we are all taking baby steps towards making our children aware of their allergy, slowly taking responsibility for it and empowering them regarding it. But to blame a 9 year old child is shameful. He is still in the early training stages of his allergy, as far as it being his responsibility.
Also, I must say that I liked the post made by someone above who was not taught about the potential severity of their child's allergy by any medical personnel they had dealt with.
I know the feeling. I have been there. I almost had my son die because of denial on his Father's part and ignorance on the part of both of his parents. Now, I cannot totally blame that on the medical establishment but somewhere along the way, someone should have said something to indicate the potential severity of our son's allergy.
Again, I totally agree with the person who did post about doctors not always giving us much needed information.
Yarnwoman, thank-you again. I want this family to know that I care and that the death of their son has affected a lot of people (I won't tell them that, I think they'll know it by simply receiving a sympathy card from someone they don't even know).
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 2:26pm
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I thought I read at another thread that Nathan lived with his father. I see that many people want to send sympathy cards to his parents, but maybe we should send them to the family of Nathan Walters rather than to his parents. He may also have siblings.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 3:35pm
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Updates, it's seems no special lunch was ordered for Nathan. Both his teacher and a parent chaperone (who was a nurse) did not give Nathan the EpiPen for over 90 minutes after he started to react and after they failed to find any in a fire station to do it as they were driving Nathan home-not to the hospital. No-one called 911.
[url="http://krem.com/news/localnews.html?StoryID=9501"]http://krem.com/news/localnews.html?StoryID=9501[/url]
[url="http://krem.com/news/localnews.html?StoryID=9503"]http://krem.com/news/localnews.html?StoryID=9503[/url]

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 9:42pm
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I've been in utter shock since the first post about this. I've been walking around in a daze. I can't post anything that anyone else hasn't already said, but I do need to get this out.
I am so sad for Nathan's family. My prayers and my heart go out to them.
I am so angry - at my own profession!!! My husband and I are both teachers (although I am a SAHM right now). We talk about homeschooling, but my husband has a loyalty to his career. I can't blame him; I think that sometimes, too. BUT to think that others in our profession could be so careless!! It could happen to anyone, anywhere. And the terror of that thought almost paralyzes me.
We deal with this every day... why is it so different now? I guess because of the blatant carelessness. I could maybe understand someone not recognizing symptoms after an accidental/questionable exposure, but this was so OBVIOUS!! THEY KNEW for crying out loud! That lunch should NEVER have been given to that little boy.
My son will start school in 2002... We have 1 year to get things together, homeschool or not. It doesn't seem like enough time now.
I've been holding my kids tighter, and really looking at them - memorizing every little thing. I'm just so scared right now.
Thanks to everyone for sharing your feelings, and allowing me to share mine - mixed up as they are.
My sympathies to Nathan's family and friends.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 11:11pm
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The school is accepting responsibility for Nathan's death (as they should). They had an epi-pen and failed to use it within the appropriate amount of time.
I can't help but wonder if they were properly educated on the use of the epi-pen as well as not hesitating to take the child to the hospital. There was a nurse on the trip however that should have known better.
Here is a follow-up on the story:
[url="http://www.msnbc.com/local/khq/m47841.asp"]http://www.msnbc.com/local/khq/m47841.asp[/url]
One thing everyone should learn from this is the severity of the reaction. Nathan did not have any outward symptoms from what I understood (no hives etc.). My PA son didn't have any skin reactions either during his last reaction. That makes it harder to detect a serious anaphylactic reaction. We too hesitated to take my son to the hospital (We didn't have an "official" PA diagnosis at the time, although I suspected)
Educating the schools and everyone that takes care of our children is key. I have printed out copies of the news report to pass it around, maybe people will now start realizing how serious this could be. Unfortunately, a child has died because of ignorance.
My prayers and thoughts are with the Walters family.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 11:49pm
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Thank you Tina for the link. I just printed it and I am now on my way to my sons' school to hand it to the school nurse and principal. The compelling sentence is by the lawyer stating that legally the school is responsible when our children are in their care. Eventhough I try to really stay on top of things I want the school to know that they can forget about even thinking about letting their guard down. We have a new school nurse. There are 4 PA children in the school and I am the only parent that gives her any information. Isn't that a joke since I am pretty laid back and try not to create too much drama. Well I must say my outlook has changed since this horrific tragedy. Now I just might turn into the parent from hell.
Thank you all for all your links. It is absolutely horrifying that a child had to die but if it draws attention to the severity of this allergy or any other potentially life threatening allergy so that people will sit up and take notice then maybe, as horrible as this may sound, we can be taken seriously and maybe this death may not be in vain. In my opinion it still is. Someone didn't drop the ball here, they dropped a boulder off the cliff. There's gonna be lots of finger pointing but not at themselves.

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 1:42am
kelly01's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2001 - 09:00

I have not posted on this subject up until now, too saddened, too mad, too scared to even put into words. My deepest sympathy to Nathan's family.

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 2:46am
MattsMom's picture
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Joined: 09/17/2000 - 09:00

This tragic story has really affected Mike and I, as well. It hit Mike so hard that he spent all last night doing what I normally do... researching and reading about peanut allergy and the various news stories, etc related to PA. It compelled him to register to post here, even. (that's saying a LOT!)
The whole chain of events, or rather, NON-events, sickens and terrifies me. My heart is breaking in two for Nathan and his family. All day yesterday, after first hearing the news, I stuck to Matt like glue. I couldn't give him enough hugs. I just kept looking at him and thinking "That's how easy it is to lose this little guy" Right now I'm feeling like not EVER letting him out of my sight, but of course, I know that is impossible.
I agree with the statement that the school didn't just drop the ball, they dropped a boulder. They definently screwed up royally, the teacher and the L.P.N. chaperone in particular. Personally, I don't think peanut products of any kind should have gone on that field trip at all, but if Nathan did not have a pn-free classroom or school, I can see how the other children would have been offered the peanuts. That does not explain why in the world they gave Nathan the sack full of poison, though! I also wonder if there was a written Emergency Plan for Nathan that the teacher had either seen previously or had access too Friday afternoon. If she didn't and had never been informed of symptoms I could see how she possibly might not have recognized the trouble he was in AT FIRST. With or without prior knowledge of symptoms and an Emergency Plan, though, she and most certainly the L.P.N. chaperone, should have recognized how serious the problem was within just a few minutes, especially given the fact that they knew peanuts were all around and that he was allergic to them. The epipen should have been used and 911 called THEN...not 2hr later at a deserted fire station. The other thing that concerns me is the fact that they let ANY 9yo who was "feeling sick" stay on a bus by himself for an hour and a half. Whether he had a peanut allergy or not, even if it had simply been a 24hr bug or something similar, he should not have been left on that bus ALONE.
I can't possibly understand why this happened. Why the lunch provided contained not one thing that was safe for him, why he was left alone, why the teacher or the L.P.N. didn't adminster the epipen in time, etc. Unfortunetly, however, I am not totally shocked. Even before PA became a part of our lives, I was privy to the total ineptitudes found in some schools. Academic-wise, as well as health-wise. The combination of the two, and the area in which we live, decided for us that we would homeschool our children. The PA diagnosis in Matt sealed it. I've seen, and been a victim of, the school system here and there is no way, regardless of the precautions I would demand be put into place, that I would let Matt spend 8hr/day in that building.
We too, are printing out information on Nathan's sad story to pass around to schools, family members, and the news stations here. We want to see the story carried on the local networks (if they're not already, I haven't seen evidence of it, but maybe) so that more of North Texas schools will see it and hopefully learn from it. We're also sending our sympathies to Nathan's family. I am just so upset that this happened, and want to do as much as I can to help keep it from happening again.

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 2:49am
LaurensMom's picture
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Joined: 05/23/2001 - 09:00

This story, like most of you have stated, has made me ill. I just keep thinking about poor Nathan on that bus and what terrible grief his family is going through.
Having just lost someone close to me and knowing how much comfort it gave me to hear from people I hadn't heard from in a number of years, I thought I would like to send a sympathy card to the family.
I called the Spokesman-Review and was told by Lisa that cards would be accepted for the family. The address is:
The Spokesman-Review
999 W. Riverside
Spokane, WA 99210
Attn: Isamu Jordan
Re: Nathan Walters

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 4:08am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Hi everyone. I have to say that since the initial shock has worn off, I am left feeling disappointed but finally motivated to take dramatic action. This could happen in other communities. I have electronically sent out the following message to everyone I have personal e-mail addresses for and I have sent it to the Corvallis and Mid-Willamete valley newspapers for inclusion as an editorial letter. The subject line?
"Child's Death Can Have Meaning With Your Help"
Please forward this letter to everyone you know and feel free to submit it to local newspapers. I am trying to start a grassroots campaign so that Nathan will be able to leave behind a legacy of hope rather than grief and anger.
I have never been motivated enough to speak out publicly about anything, but the death of a healthy Spokane third grader named Nathan has changed my mind. About 150 people each year in this country die from a peanut allergy. If it were a school shooting, it would be front page news in every paper in the country. Readers will have to look to sources other than the local media for coverage, however. It terrifies me to be the parent of a child who is at risk of the same fate.
I beg everyone to find out more. If you are a person who is well-educated on the subject, speak out! Safety lies in awareness. Broader public awareness would have saved the life of this Spokane child, who died in the company of many responsible adults on a school field trip. Educate yourself and others about severe food allergies. The Food Allergy Network ([url]http://www.foodallergy.org[/url]) can help. Don't assume you know about allergies! About three percent of the adult population has a genuine food allergy (not an "intolerance", which is not life-threatening). The rate of food allergies in children is well over double that, and is rising. About 2 children out of 150 are estimated to suffer from peanut allergies alone. Someone you know has a life threatening allergy, and you must know what to do to save this person's life. The killer foods? 90% of killer reactions to foods are to shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts, and amounts too small to be seen or tasted can cause death in an allergic person. Almost 70% of fatal and near-fatal reactions are to peanuts, which seem to be in everything. Waiting even minutes to apply epinephrine and call 911 can kill. We now take for granted that it is a good idea for everyone to know CPR, and everyone should know about anaphylaxis too.
Please, please allow the preventable death of a beloved child to have some purpose! Do not allow this to happen to another child because of your ignorance.
Shannon Long
Corvallis OR

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 7:37am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Corvallis Mom,
I like your idea!
BCUZILUVHIM,
(Along the lines of your statement) I have been thinking about the Today Show. They did a food allergy segment not very long ago. I was wondering if they would consider reporting on this as a 'follow-up'?
Please, no one tell me this is a morbid thought - I've already considered that myself, but as BCUZILUVHIM said (and others) Nathan's death doesn't have to have been in vain. (I still can hardly believe this has actually happened! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] )
[This message has been edited by Lam (edited May 23, 2001).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 7:49am
MattsDad's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Hello again, emotion has gone to a low simmer and reason has begun to take over my thought processes once more. When I first found out about what happened in Spokane I tried to come up with some suitable punishment for the teacher and chaperone. Among my ideas were staking them out on an ant bed or dragging them through cactus behind a couple of strong horses. But as I said reason has taken over and I know what needs to be done. Make them part of the team and let them tell their story to legislative bodies, news papers, television networks, and any other group that needs the information that they can give. They are in a position to help with making people aware of the sever and too often fatal consequences that food allergies present. No one could accuse them of simply being hysterical or overprotective. They've been there, they can speak with knowledge gained from a tragic first hand experience.

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 8:24am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Is it a requirement in U.S. schools that if you have a child with a food allergy that you have to request a "special lunch" for them?
I notice that this was one of the comments made - that no "special lunch" had been ordered for Nathan.
Since the administration and the teacher knew of his PA, and a "special lunch" had not been ordered for him, would it not have been better for him to starve that day rather than being given a poison filled lunch?
Are these people simply insane? There was no "special lunch" ordered! WHAT???????????????
Okay, now I just went from VERY angry to extremely upset. I'm crying. How could an Epi-pen not have been administered for 90 minutes? HOW? I have seen my child almost die because of an anaphylactic reaction. He was administered the shot after about 20 minutes. He had experienced almost every symptom of anaphylaxis. He was 3-1/4 years old at the time and I am hoping against hope that he does not remember the actual feeling of how it felt to be literally dying.
How did poor Nathan feel as the reaction took hold and last for NINETY MINUTES before anything was done to try to stop it? What must that poor wee mite have suffered? I cannot even imagine. I cannot even imagine.
The school accepts or assumes responsibility for this, do they? Do they assume or accept responsibility for cruel and unusual punishment? The poor little guy. I cannot even imagine.
My stomach has turned sick on me.
I understand Eileen's point about school personnel being trained properly on how to use an Epi-pen. This is definitely essential and all of us should be keeping this in mind with our own children's schools and their personnel. The people that were looking after Nathan that day had NINETY MINUTES to get it right!
I'm sorry, I am going to have to go.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 9:09am
vic's picture
vic
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Joined: 11/30/2015 - 09:59

I recently posted "A true story..." under Living With Peanut Allergy which explains how I feel every school day. And now poor Nathan has died. I keep thinking of how hungry he must have been at lunch time. And then how scared and alone he must have felt at the end. No child should ever have to go through that. I'm hurt, angry and scared. I am so ready to throw away my Section 504 Plan and home school Kindergarten next year.
My thoughts and prayers are with Nathan's family and friends. I will send a card immediately.
Victoria

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 9:43am
BCUZILUVHIM's picture
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Joined: 03/17/2001 - 09:00

I am almost at the point of being non-functional. I am taking this so hard. This is my 5th visit to this web site today. I have no words to describe how I feel right now the best one is "empty". We lost one of our own. I truly want to do something in my community to raise awareness now. Right now though I can bearly think. I am numb. After I leave this web site, I am going to e-mail the 2 local news stations to see if they would run something on this especially on the responsibility of the schools keeping our beautiful precious children safe. Blessings to you. Almost forgot to mention, I spoke at length with my sons' delegate in school. She is responsible for Mike while he is in school and she also has a PA child in her class. She will be visiting this web-site tonight. She is a god-send.
[This message has been edited by BCUZILUVHIM (edited May 23, 2001).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 11:04am
EILEEN's picture
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Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

Family Representative Discusses Nathan Walters' Death
[url="http://krem.com/news/breakingnews.html?StoryID=9528"]http://krem.com/news/breakingnews.html?StoryID=9528[/url]
Are Local Schools Prepared for Medical Emergencies?
[url="http://krem.com/news/localnews.html?StoryID=9532"]http://krem.com/news/localnews.html?StoryID=9532[/url]
Remembering Nathan Walters
[url="http://krem.com/news/localnews.html?StoryID=9534"]http://krem.com/news/localnews.html?StoryID=9534[/url]
NOTE: I think these links have expired but am keeping them just so we know what was writen.
[This message has been edited by EILEEN (edited June 06, 2001).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 12:06pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Eileen, thank-you for posting the links just above this post (as well as others). What a beautiful little boy. It was a wonderful picture.
It is almost odd that we, the PA community, are going through the different stages of grief about a child that we probably never would have heard about except he died and he died because he was PA.
I thought I was okay. Then, I had the near anxiety attack when sending Jesse to school yesterday morning and worked feverishly all day re his upcoming field trip. I thought I was okay again. Then I was angry and then I was just trying to imagine how the poor wee guy felt.
Now, after seeing his picture, I'm crying again.
I know as I send Jesse off to school tomorrow, despite the fact that both kids are raising complete he** right now when they "should" be long asleep, he'll be getting double squished. So will his sister, Ember.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 12:45pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I sent the following email to my local newspaper and tv news stations today. Hopefully it will be noticed - I just had to do something:
Please Please consider running a feature story about the dangers children with severe food allergies face. If you have not seen the story of Nathan Walters, here is the link:
[url="http://www.krem.com/extra/"]http://www.krem.com/extra/[/url]
The incidence of severe food allergies, particularly peanut allergies, is on the rise among young children. Unfortunately, education and awareness of the subject has not increased at the same rate. The death of this young child in Spokane points out the sad truth that food allergies are not taken seriously. FOOD ALLERGIES CAN KILL!
People need to be more aware of what the allergy is and how accidental ingestions should be handled. My son is 2 1/2 and has a life-threatening peanut allergy. In February of this year he was rushed to the ER for an anaphylactic reaction. Luckily his caregiver reacted quickly and he received prompt medical attention. In the case of Nathan Walters, it appears that a LNP had access to the Epi-Pen but for whatever reason chose not to use it. It took two hours for the boy to receive medical attention - after it was too late to save him. Everyone who cares for a severely allergic child must know what to do and when to do it, and must be trusted to take the appropriate actions.
It is horrifying that Nathan had to die, and as the parent of a severely allergic child, I can only hope that people care enough to make a point of raising awareness and educating the public.
If I can be of any assistance, please contact me.

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 12:55pm
MattsMom's picture
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Joined: 09/17/2000 - 09:00

*nod* I'm with you, Cindy. The more time that passes, the more I read, the more I learn about Nathan, the more I think about the whole thing, the worse I feel. I started crying at the store today when I went to pick out a sympathy card for his family simply because I couldn't find one for the loss of a child. Stupid little insignificant thing to cry over, I know, but it just felt like NOTHING was going right for Nathan and his family, ya know? I was able to find a suitable card after a bit, though. It goes out in the morning's mail.
I'm sure it didn't help matters as far as my haywire emotions are concerned, that when we tried to contact the local news stations earlier, there was a minor (yes MINOR, no injuries, no fire, etc, just a blown tire on landing) airplane accident at DFW airport while we were on the phone. We got cut off and told "We have to go, there's breaking news at the airport!" every place we called. Not one of them are picking up the story. Instead all the news channels have been breaking in with coverage of this minor thing at the airport every 5min for the last several hours. The frustration!!!
I just can't believe how hard this has hit both myself and Mike. I never would have expected the death of a child I knew nothing about to hurt so bad. I hurt for Nathan, for his family, and for everyone with a peanut allergic child. This has reiterated what we already knew, that our children are thisclose to death at all times because they are allergic to peanuts and that not only scares the hell outta me, it breaks my heart that all these kids (and adults too!!) have to live a life of constantly trying to sidestep death.
And I think about that cookie. If a 9yo boy could mistake a pb cookie for a sugar cookie, how easy it would be for a 2yo! I don't think I can leave him with anyone until he is MUCH, MUCH older. As much as I try to teach him what peanuts look like and to only eat what I give him, etc, I know that if he were to find one lying on the floor he would pick it up and THEN ask "What's this?". Since he's contact sensitive, that alone could have dire consequences.
--The extremely upset Chris who is now second-guessing letting her mother come over to babysit tomorrow while she goes to a food allergy parents meeting.

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 12:57pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I have no words at the moment that can be spoken...just a mixture of emotions... fear, anger, and grief. Presently I can't see through the tears so I will return tomorrow...

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 1:20pm
Astrid's picture
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Joined: 02/15/1999 - 09:00

I am so sad. Our condolences go out to the Walters family. I am sending a card tomorrow. I have not been on this site in a while and something brought me here today......
I cannot imagine what the Walthers family is going through right now. It is my worst nightmare come true. I have a three yr old who almost died when he was one. It has been two years, and I have been lucky to be able to volunteer in my son's school to 'police' any food brought in by others. God knows how things will be when he is old enought to go on field trips! I cannot put into words how I feel- I just hope Nathan Walters did not die in vain- WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

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