Wednesday, March 23, 2011

High School Freshman in Coma

A 14 year old, high school freshman girl is in a coma after going into anaphylactic shock. The coma is a result of delayed CPR and an extended period of time without oxygen flowing to her brain. There are plans later this week for her to undergo surgery so that a feeding tube can be inserted.

Apparently, she was hanging out with some friends after school and they were eating Kellogg's Crunchy Nut cereal for a snack. The words "peanut" or "nutty" appear about 20 times on the cereal box. She did know the severity of her allergy. There is no mention of an epinephrine pen anywhere in the article. Her dad mentions that Benadryl had worked on past minor allergic episodes to MSG and preservatives.  Here's the link if you'd like to read the full story and see the Fox News video clip interviewing the girls father.

I really don't know how to comment. It's a very tragic tale that brings up more questions than answers.  I can say this though.  It's a perfect example of one of the main reasons that my husband and I decided to pursue the peanut clinical trial at Duke, and why we're putting Abigail as well as our family through repeated 290 mile round trips to the Duke Clinical Research Unit, multiple blood and skin tests and a daily regiment of drops for 3 years.  We were very concerned of what would happen when our very strong-willed, opinionated daughter reached the pre-teen and teenage years and was no longer under the constant supervision of either ourselves or another adult.  My husband agrees.  Ironically, when I told him about this girl in Phoenix and the tragedy, his first comment was, "that's why we are in the clinical trial."  What a blessing this trial is for our family, and we pray that the results bless many in return.

A mom wrote on a food allergy message board that she trains all of her teenage daughter's close friends on the signs of an allergic reaction and the administration of an EpiPen.  Prior to letting her daughter go anywhere with her friends, she makes sure that they are all aware of where the EpiPen is and asks that they make sure it doesn't get left behind in the car.  What a great tip.

In the meantime, we need to keep this young girl and her family in our prayers.  I can't imagine what they must be going through or how much they are suffering.