LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY

Devastated Parents Share An Important Message To Warn Everybody About Food Allergy That Took Their Son's Life

Date June 28, 2018

The most horrible thing that can happen in a life of a parent is losing their child in an accident that could’ve been prevented. Such tragic event happened to the Debbs family – the parents lost their 11-year-old son because of a food allergy attack. Notwithstanding the excruciating pain, Robert and Merrill share the story in the hope that nobody will ever make the same mistake they did.

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Horrible accident

11-year-old Oakley had asthma and a tree nut and peanut allergy. The parents were most concerned about his asthma, as the boy was usually pretty cautious about his allergy and read labels carefully. During the vacation in Maine on the Thanksgiving Day, reportedly, the boy ate a piece of cake, as he didn’t like the main meal. The mother recalls the event:

He thought it was just a piece of cake. But when he ate it, he came over and said it might have contained nuts.

Merrill gave her son Benadryl to help with the hive that formed on Oakley’s lip. The parents say the boy seemed absolutely fine and had no troubles with breathing. However, soon the boy told he felt soreness in his chest. The parents didn’t consider it as a life-threatening symptom, and the family went to bed.

READ ALSO: 12-Year-Old Girl Dies After Eating Granola Bar That Contained Peanuts

How the death could've been prevented

In a matter of an hour, the boy came into the parents’ bedroom and vomited. That’s when the horror began. The mother administrated another dose of Benadryl, as she was afraid that Oakley might have thrown up the drug. But very soon the boy was having issues with breathing. The parents called 911. Even though the ambulance came quickly, Oakley suffered a heart attack due to the low blood pressure. Unfortunately, two doses of epinephrine didn’t work, and the boy died later in the hospital.

The devastated parents want to share one vital thing everyone needs to know about allergies: the first line of defense for anaphylaxis is an EpiPen (an epinephrine auto-injector). According to Dr. Robert Wood, the director of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore you should have epinephrine readily available:

It needs to be given promptly in the event of a reaction; that the longer it’s delayed before being given, the greater chances that it won’t work; and that every patient needs to have an individualized action plan that they’ve worked out with their caretaker.

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We send our condolences to the Debbs family. We would like to thank the parents who created the campaign to raise awareness about the ways to treat allergies and save a life in case of such severe allergy attacks at RedSneakers.org. Oakley’s favorite color of sneakers was red.

READ ALSO: Citrus Allergy: Warning Signs To Watch For


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.

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