After dining at a local restaurant, a Michigan youth suffered a severe allergic reaction and nearly died. The family is upset because they claim the restaurant was informed about the child’s allergies and assured them the food he ordered was safe for him to consume.
Now, the story has become nationwide, as the restaurant’s reaction proves to be wholly unsatisfactory to the family.
Kelly Chapman of Taylor Michigan, had taken her son to dinner at a local restaurant. At the counter, they informed the server that he had special dietary needs. “I’m allergic to eggs, wheat and coconut,” says her son Jack. He also has a dairy allergy.
He chose the hot dog and french fries from the menu, being assured by the restaurant it would be safe to consume. Kelly says “They said everything is fine, hot dogs are safe, french fries are safe – they’re just potatoes and basically vegetable oil, what they cook it in.”
Unfortunately, the hot dogs contained nonfat dry milk. And it was not long before Jack was starting to feel the effects of a serious allergic reaction.
Ms. Chapman told local news outlets “He started to eat it and barely ate any of it. By the end of the meal we were getting ready to get up and pay the check and he just started vomiting.”
His condition worsened as his voice became raspy and within five minutes of getting home he was itching his face and his eyes were puffy. He was in the midst of a full blown anaphylactic reaction. Luckily, the Chapmans had an Epi Pen on hand and were able to stop the most dangerous aspects of the allergic reaction. Jack still wound up spending five hours in the hospital that night under observation.
His mother said “It was terrifying, very scary.”
After the ordeal was over Kelly took to the internet to post a negative review of the restaurant, claiming that they should have known more specifically what was in their food, and to not be so cavalier about people’s dietary restrictions.
An administrator for the review page, not associated with the restaurant, wrote the following response: “If you know you have problems then why don’t you just eat at home where you know exactly what the ingredients are – instead of trying to go to a restaurant (and all restaurants) in the first place. What happened here could happen at any restaurant – thank you very much for your review!”
The owner of the restaurant added that, in 13 years of running the restaurant, this was the first time someone had suffered an allergic reaction in their establishment.
Kelly chapman says “We were made to feel, at least I personally felt, that we were a nuisance, that it was annoying, and that it was my fault that I even took him outside my house to eat.”
Food borne allergies, and the possibility of anaphylaxis are potentially life threatening problems. People who suffer from food based allergies, and their caregivers must always be extremely conscious of their diets. As this story illustrates, failing to communicate effectively with restaurant staff, or relying on people who make less than minimum wage to be acquainted with every ingredient, can very terribly risky.
Do you you work in restaurants? How do you deal with the special requests of people with dietary restrictions? Share your ideas with us here.