Teenager dies from allergic reaction after eating buttermilk chicken at Byron

Teenager dies from allergic reaction after eating buttermilk chicken at Byron

UK News

A teenager who died from an allergic reaction after eating grilled chicken at a Byron burger restaurant did not know it had been coated in buttermilk, an inquest heard.

Owen Carey, 18, collapsed while walking with his girlfriend in front of the London Eye an hour after he ate half a chicken burger which had been marinated with buttermilk in the Byron branch at The O2, the hearing was told.

A post mortem examination revealed the cause of death was “asthma exacerbation in the context of a severe food allergic reaction” – common in people who suffer a fatal anaphylactic shock, Southwark Coroner’s Court heard.

The teen was with his girlfriend at the time

But an expert said that it was likely that Owen would have died even if he had an epipen with him.

Dr Robert John Boyle, a consultant paediatric analyst at St Mary’s Hospital, told the hearing: “There are very few things so powerful that they can take away a young life that quickly.

“We cannot be completely certain whether or not an epipen would have made a difference.

“I think, personally, that it would have been unlikely that an epipen would have made a difference. It sounds like he was extremely difficult to resuscitate.”

Earlier Southwark Assistant Coroner Briony Ballard, reading paramedic Anneliese Tien-Yin Wong ‘s statement, said security staff had lowered the bollards at the London Eye to give the ambulance access to the pedestrian area.

The paramedic said: “The patient was located on the pavement in a pedestrian area in front of the London Eye.

“There were three bystanders who identified themselves as doctors on scene.

“The patient was unresponsive, silent and not breathing and pulseless.”

The incident occurred after he ate at a Byron in Greenwich, south east London

 

The doctors continued to perform CPR and paramedics extracted 1.5 litres of vomit from Owen’s airways with a suction device, the inquest heard.

Owen’s girlfriend told them he had suffered an allergic reaction, and didn’t have his epipen.

The medics administered five shots of adrenaline and one of hydrocortisol for anaphylactic shock.

Ms Wong said there was a delay to administering the drugs due to “managing the chaotic nature of the crowds and bystanders around us” before Owen was rushed to nearby St Thomas’s Hospital.

Owen was rushed into A&E, but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Aimee Leitner-Hopps, Byron’s head of food and compliance, denied any wrongdoing by the firm.

She defended its menus and staff training, saying all local authority inspections had been passed and a spot-check by independent consultants Food Alert the day before Owen’s death.

Ms Leitner-Hopps blamed an “assumption” being made when the order was made that the skinny chicken burger did not contain dairy products, and said the “green” marinade was “quite clear” on the chicken breast.

Owen Carey had multiple allergies

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She denied the “fine print” placement of allergy warnings on Byron’s menus were “shifting the responsibility” to customers, and said the reason later versions included the words ‘marinaded in buttermilk’ were because buttermilk was becoming “fashionable”.

Dr Pippa Alamango, the hospital registrar who treated him in A&E, said “Owen’s allergic symptoms started after he ate half of his chicken burger because, according to his girlfriend, he shortly after developed symptoms of lips tingling and abdominal pain.

“He then required his asthma inhaler.

“His symptoms started at approximately 2.45pm and he collapsed at approximately 3.45pm.

The inquest heard Owen had been going to hospital twice a year due to his asthma and suffered various other allergies.

Reading a post mortem report, the Assistant Coroner said the medical cause of death was found to be “asthma exacerbation in the context of a severe food allergic reaction.”

She added: “It’s estimated that half a chicken burger contains 5g of buttermilk.

“Although this is a small amount of cow’s milk protein, it would be sufficient to cause anaphylactic reaction in a person with an allergy.

“In the case of Owen, there was milk ingested at a dose that clearly caused an allergic reaction.

“Having food allergies increases the risk of spontaneous fatal or life threatening asthma.

“Owen had numerous respiratory allergies including cat, house dust mite, tree and pollen. The day of his death in Spring had high pollen.”

She added: “In summary the likelihood of milk allergies triggering this event is high, but the possibility of spontaneous asthma cannot be discounted.”

The inquest continues.




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