A three-year-old was left severely ill after a hospital neglected allergy advice from her mother and served her a snack.
A three-year-old was left severely ill after a hospital neglected allergy advice from her mother and served her a snack.

A hospital's Vegemite sandwich made my little girl sick

A SOUTHERN Tasmanian child was inadvertently served food containing an allergen in a Hobart hospital despite her family telling the facility about the dangers to the girl's health.

Megan Cooper said her daughter Samantha, then aged three, was admitted to the hospital in September 2018 to have her tonsils removed.

The Blackmans Bay family's experience comes as a National Allergy Strategy program is launched to provide free e-training on allergies for hospital staff working in kitchens and on wards.

Megan Cooper of Blackmans Bay alongside five-year-old daughter Samantha Cooper who suffered a anaphylactic shock after being served allergenic food in hospital, where she was having her tonsils out. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Megan Cooper of Blackmans Bay alongside five-year-old daughter Samantha Cooper who suffered a anaphylactic shock after being served allergenic food in hospital, where she was having her tonsils out. Picture: Zak Simmonds

The Mercury confirmed the hospital as Calvary St John's Hospital in South Hobart.

After the procedure, Samantha was served a Vegemite sandwich later discovered to contain margarine, which featured a milk solid.

She has many allergies, including vomiting if she has dairy, sustains a rash if she has egg products, and exposure to products containing nuts can result in anaphylactic shock.

Mrs Cooper said her daughter vomited after eating the sandwich.

"We started to get quite concerned and the nurses thought she was having a reaction to the anaesthetic but after some time and some inquiring, it was found there was actually milk solids,'' she said.

Mrs Cooper said it was disappointing but added the hospital was apologetic.

"The nurses were great, they took a lot of effort to find out what went on in the kitchen,'' she said.

The Hobart City Council confirmed it conducted an investigation.

Anaphylaxis case study Blackmans Bay
Anaphylaxis case study Blackmans Bay

A Calvary spokeswoman confirmed the council's environmental health unit did an inspection of the main kitchen at St John's hospital on October 31, 2018.

She said a report found there was a robust system in place and kitchen staff were well trained in procedures to provide allergen-free meals.

But following the review, Calvary implemented the use of dairy-free spreads for all kitchen-prepared foods.

Australia has one of the highest incidences of food allergy in the developed world with about one in 10 infants, one in 20 children and one in 50 adults affected.

The training would increase food safety and had the potential to save lives, said co-chair of the National Allergy Strategy Maria Said.

The training is not compulsory but encouraged.

The project has been funded by the federal government's health department.

cameron.whiteley@news.com.au

 

 

 

 

Originally published as How a hospital Vegemite sandwich made my little girl sick


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