13-year-old boy died after eating meal in Australian hospital
A BOY died after eating just a mouthful of hospital food, despite staff being told he had allergies, a Melbourne inquest has been told.
Louis Tate, 13, was admitted to Frankston Hospital on October 22, 2015, following an asthma attack and died the next day after an anaphylactic reaction to the hospital's breakfast food.
"I thought because he was in hospital, the medical staff would know exactly how to take care of him," mum Gabrielle Catan told day one of an inquest into his death.
"I didn't feel I had to say anaphylaxis was a life-threatening condition." Ms Catan said she phoned the hospital the morning after Louis's admission to see how he was going and the nurse said he complained of tingling in his mouth after eating breakfast.
"That's some sort of allergic reaction," she recalled telling the nurse. "For me that was quite clear and for him to mention it, he knew what was going on."
After Louis's death, Ms Catan - who had informed the hospital of his allergies on his admission - said hospital staff reported he ate "no more than a spoonful" before complaining.
"They couldn't find out what caused the food reaction," she said.
Irene Fisher, who served Louis his breakfast, said the nurse looking after the teen that day told her about his allergies but there was no notation on the kitchen whiteboard about it, as per protocol.
"It hadn't been followed that day," she said.
Louis had asked for three Weet-Bix, a glass of water and soy milk.
Ms Fisher said someone at the hospital, whom she couldn't recall, asked her for the milk served to Louis that day and she gave them the open carton.
The inquest is considering food handling protocols at Frankston Hospital for patients with food allergies, and the management of Louis' treatment after he suffered a reaction.
In a statement, Louis's father Simon Tate said the death never should have happened.
"His death has changed our lives and we continue to struggle every day with the emptiness, loss and circumstances," he said.
"He was in hospital, at a place where he should have been safe. Yet despite us providing clear and concise communications about his food allergies, he died.
"Our hope is that this inquest not only provides us with the many answers we need and deserve, but that it closely examines food safety and anaphylaxis management protocols at Frankston Hospital."