Student Who Died From Eating a Cookie Reminds Us How Serious Peanut Allergies Can Be

Heartbreaking 7

Food allergies are a scary thing. Growing up, I don't remember having any friends with food allergies. Kids came to my house for a party and ate whatever was served. Not one parent would be fussing around, demanding to know if there was cashew butter in the cake frosting. But the times have changed, and now it seems like pretty much every kid I know has a food allergy. I've had an up close view of serious food allergies for a very long time, thanks to my friend Amy (not her real name). Amy has a whole host of food allergies, so many that sometimes I've wondered if she were exaggerating or paranoid. But after reading what happend to this teen who died from eating half of a  cookie, I'll never doubt my friend again.

Nineteen-year-old college freshman Cameron Groezinger-Fitzpatrick died after eating a cookie that contained peanut oil. He and his friend were apparently driving when they bought some cookies. Cameron's friend ate the cookie first -- a taste-test I've done many times with Amy before -- and the friend said he didn't taste a hint of nut. So Cameron said, "Ah, I'm sure it's fine," and took a bite of his own cookie. But it wasn't fine.

Cameron, like my friend, had lived his life being ultra-cautious about food after being diagnosed with a nut allergy at 8-years-old. He checked food labels and questioned food service workers. He carried an epinephrine autoinjector. But there was no label on the cookies that Cameron and his friend bought. Hours later, Cameron was doubled over in pain. His throat closed up. And doctors couldn't save him.

I've been in a restaurant with my friend when we've been served bread. One time, it was dark and she couldn't tell if the bread contained any nuts. So I tasted it and said I didn't detect nuts at all. Plus, the server said there wasn't any. But my friend is so cautious that she decided not to risk it. In fact, she is so cautious that we once left a bar because my friend spied a jar of peanuts on a far away table and worried the servers might have touched it. My friend can not only suffer a reaction if she eats a peanut -- she can suffer a reaction if anyone who eats a peanut touches her or even gets near her.

And, yeah, sometimes I get a little frustrated with having to leave a bar or restaurant because my friend gets nervous. Or the endless questioning of the wait staff. Or being forced to wash my hands because she suspects that power bar I had an hour ago may have had nuts in it. But I want my friend alive. 

I'm sure Cameron's friend does too -- he must feel terrible guilt over what happened. But if you have friends or family members with food allergies, remember Cameron. And be patient with them.

Do you have or know anyone who has bad food allergies?


Image via EuroMagic/Flickr

allergies, eating habits


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insei... inseineangel

I have severe reactions to strawberries and mushrooms :( I've had a few friends with nut allergies. I have a friend with a protein allergy. She can't eat nuts, meats, etc., because of the reaction her body has to protein. She can't come into contact with semen, either, without having a reaction, though slightly less severe than ingesting it.

nonmember avatar Ashlry

My son has an allergy to nuts and red dye. I'm extremely cautious about what he and we as a family eat. I am terrified of when he starts school because he is cognitively delayed and doesn't understand why he can't eat certain foods.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

Well, that's unfortunate. Allergies are common know probably because of the GMOs and pesticides that are put in our foods. 

I don't mean to be critical but the mother says that she didn't know that her son could die from his peanut allergy. And then she found an expired epi-pen, but first responders told her not to use it. Expired or not, I would have still tried it. 

eem8605 eem8605

As a mother, I would have tried to use the expired Epi-Pen. Expired is better than nothing. Working in the pharmacy industry, I know that most medications lose 10% of there potentency per year of expiration. 90% potentency, sound a lot better than not using it at all. 90% could have made a difference between life and death and given the time needed to get medical attention. Also, the child should have known better, especially a college age one that knows the severity of his reaction. It's sad and unfortunate, but could have all be avoided.

lalab... lalaboosh

I have a friend who is allergic to wheat, soy, corn, and dairy. She's currently stuck living in a moldy house, so she's reacting to all foods other than eggs and pears. Her boyfriend can't eat a bag of chips containing dextrose and then kiss her without causing a reaction. She can't even use any form of contraceptive, everything has corn in it. Even condoms. At least she's not reacting to his semen yet, with NFP they get a four day window every month for sex. Before knowing her I never questioned another's allergies, but now there's no way I'd even bat an eye if an allergic friend needed to leave an establishment or question the wait staff.

Vegeta Vegeta

I'm allergic to strawberries and the other day a waitress brought the wrong drinks (which looked like the drinks I ordered) and upon drinking them my friends and I realized there was a strawberry taste (was fake strawberry flavoring) to them and we freaked out. I didn't want to make a scene but the manager did, poor waitress (we gave her a big tip cause she was embarrassed and there was no real strawberries). Also it was my fault for not telling the server about allergies in my party.

This is also why I ask all my customers if they have nut allergies before handing them the scanner to sign, if I've been eating peanuts. Usually they reply no and look at me like I'm crazy.

nonmember avatar natalie

I have a friend who is allergic to peanuts. If he is in the same room as a product made with peanuts his throat will close up and he will start to suffocate. It's really scary to think that that exposure could kill him.

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