Teen almost dies

Posted on: Thu, 10/14/2004 - 6:12am
Lovey's picture
Joined: 03/22/2004 - 09:00


Allergic reaction spurs teen to action
By Amanda McGregor/ Chronicle Staff
Thursday, October 14, 2004

Patricia Santana says she is thankful to be alive and grateful for a friend like Carla Becerra.

The two teammates on the Matignon varsity soccer team were riding the T home from practice last week when Santana, 15, bit into a candy that triggered her deadly allergy to nuts.

Becerra, 16, whisked her friend through to the Mass. General stop on the Red Line, delivering her to a hospital bed "just in time" before her throat closed.

"She was swelling completely and couldn't talk," said Becerra, who tried to stay calm through the harrowing ordeal.

"I know when I'm hurt, my dad always makes me smile," said Becerra, who lives with her family in East Cambridge. "I said to myself, 'That's what I'm going to do. I'm not going to show any fear.' "

Santana, whose allergy to nuts is so severe that she can't touch or smell them, said she should have been carrying her epi-pen, which would have allowed her to give herself a shot of medicine to counteract the swelling. Once at the hospital, the doctors gave her the necessary shots to open her airways.

"[Becerra] was holding my hand in the hospital," said Santana. "She gave me so much hope ... I couldn't hear anyone else's voice."

"It's happened to me before," she said, "but the more it happens, the worse of a reaction I have ... This was the quickest [reaction]."

The girls started their frightful journey in the Davis Square T stop around 4:40 p.m. last Tuesday when Becerra unknowingly offered Santana a peanut candy, which Santana immediately spit out when she tasted nuts.

"She felt really bad because she had given me the candy," said Santana.

Santana's friends are determined not to let it happen again.

"Now a chain of people on our team are inspecting her food before she can eat anything," said Becerra, who looked at her friend sternly as the two sat in the Matignon cafeteria Tuesday afternoon.

Becerra and Santana, who lives in Dorchester but stays with her grandmother in Cambridgeport, attended Mass together last Sunday.

"If it wouldn't have been for Carla, I would have died," said Santana.

Posted on: Thu, 10/14/2004 - 11:43pm
jtolpin's picture
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Lovey:
[b] Santana, whose allergy to nuts is so severe that she can't touch or smell them, said she should have been carrying her epi-pen, which would have allowed her to give herself a shot of medicine to counteract the swelling. Once at the hospital, the doctors gave her the necessary shots to open her airways. [/b]
Shes a young teen... wasn't carrying her Epi-pen... Sad story... but not a sad ending, thank god...
I printed this one out.. I may be talking to the school committee Thursday night, IRT food allergies (!) and introducing them to our daughter [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Glad this teen is a-ok.
[b]* ENRICHED * [/b]

Posted on: Fri, 10/15/2004 - 12:02am
Elizabethbennett's picture
Joined: 06/29/2004 - 09:00

I think that although this is a good article, they should be publishing articles about teens that carry their epi-pens and prevent themselves from almost dying.

Posted on: Fri, 10/15/2004 - 1:36am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Hmm, I actually think this article is very powerful - it makes it quite clear what happens when a teen (or anyone) doesn't carry her/his epipen.
Also, I like the fact that the article states that now all the team members are looking out for this girl before she eats anything.
It's refreshing to see an article that does mention the epipen and that even states that the girl should have been carrying her epipen.
Good article all around, IMHO.

Posted on: Fri, 10/15/2004 - 12:54pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Off Topic, first of all. I was reading an article to-day in a movie magazine (bloody he**, now I want to go and see what the title of the magazine is) and there is a movie being made of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley. Anyway, they spelled the name as Elizabeth Bennet.
I do think it would be GREAT as Elizabeth mentioned to see an article that shows a teenager wearing a MedicAlert bracelet and wearing an Epi-belt. I think it would be wonderful.
As most everyone here knows, I've had two newspaper articles done on my son, but he's not a teenager (although time is flying) and I have found them to be quite educational for the communities we've lived in.
For those of us with children that are younger than teenagers, I think it would be GREAT for them to see a teenager wearing the same "gear" as they do day in and day out. It has always been my hope, as it has been other members' here, that if our children start wearing MedicAlert bracelets and Epi-belts at young ages, they won't bow to peer pressure and rip them off when they become teenagers.
However, having said that doesn't negate how good this article was either.
It was a good thought though.
My guy won't be a teenager for oh my soul only 4 more years, so maybe someone else?
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 10/21/2004 - 9:04am
travelplus's picture
Joined: 04/18/2004 - 09:00

This is a very sad story.However some obvious points to bring up
1.Why did the teen not read the lable on the cnady bar.
2. Does the teen know not to accept any unsafe food from friends?
3. Isn't the teen educated enough to always have an epi-pen?
I am so glad she was with a freind as she could have died due to the fact people would not know what was going on perse.I think we should devise ways so that bystanders can help people who have such a reaction.
I wish we could forwared this website to the teen so she can learn more about foord allergies? If anyone could do that would be great to give the website to the newspaper who wrote the article. Also include info about FAAN as well.

Posted on: Thu, 10/28/2004 - 4:02pm
helenmc's picture
Joined: 05/01/2002 - 09:00

The story almost makes your heart stop just reading it.
So glad it (a) all worked out in the end and (b)the newspaper published such a good story.
It all helps to raise awareness.
Geoff (Helen's hubby)


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