An inquest heard that a boy with a severe allergy to diary allegedly passed away after he was ‘chased with cheese and had it thrown down his t-shirt’ at his school.
Karanbir Cheema suffered a serious allergic reaction in Greenford, London, on June 28 last year. The 13-year-old as severely allergic to gluten, wheat, all diary products, all nuts, and eggs. He was also suffering from atopic eczema and he was asthmatic.
St Pancras Coroners’ Court was told that Karan went into anaphylactic shock at William Perkin Church of England High School and was unconscious throughout the time paramedics were fighting to save his life. Paramedic Kierin Oppatt, who was the first on the scene, told the hearing today that the 999 operators were told it was ‘just an allergic reaction’, but by the time he arrived, Karan was already ‘gasping for air’ and had broken out in hives.
The 13-year-old was unconscious and stopped breathing shortly after Mr. Oppatt and his colleague arrived at the scene.
Senior Coroner Mary Hassell asked the witness to go through the tragic event, and Mr. Oppat said:
“The call came in at 11.40am. We arrived on the scene at 11.47am. The call came in as just an allergic reaction.
On arrival at the scene, I immediately knew it was life-threatening and that the patient had a high risk of going into cardiac and respiratory arrest.
We were told by school staff that perhaps someone had chased the patient with cheese and had proceeded to throw it down his t-shirt, that he had an allergic reaction, that he was itchy, his skin was very hot, and that he was having difficulty breathing.
Staff had administered two spoons of Piriton, an Epipen and given him his inhaler.”
He added that they saw Karan lying on his back on the floor with teachers around him, and he appeared to be in a state of pre-arrest. His respiration was very slow, his skin was red and there appeared to be hives.
Mr. Oppat knew he had to call for help when he realized the severity of the situation, but he had to go outside because he could not get reception on his radio. He added:
“I went to the vehicle and called the communications centre and informed them that our patient was in cardiac and respiratory arrest. And that I required the assistance of an advanced paramedic and additional crews at the job.”
When he returned to help his colleague, he was in the process of drawing up inter-muscular adrenaline when he was informed by his colleague that Karan had stopped breathing.
The paramedics started to perform CPR on Karan, used a defibrillator and they gave him adrenaline while they were waiting for the back up to arrive. The boy was taken on a stretcher to the ambulance when additional crews arrived, but he was unconscious throughout. He lost his life in Great Ormond Street Hospital ten days later.
Karan’s mom, Rina Cheema, his sister, and his two brothers were at court today. Speaking outside the court, she said:
“We want answers. I am devastated as a mother after losing my son and my family have lost their brother. He was a very, very bright young boy. He was so bright he could have been anything he wanted. I brought him up by myself. I trained him to read all about his condition.”
A 13-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide at the time of Karan’s death but has not been charged.
Detective Sergeant Christian Rodgers ran through a list of potential witnesses in court and said:
“The person involved is no longer at the school. It was a pupil on a pupil.”
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