Most people with food allergies tend to take it lightly. Some are allergic to seafood, others can’t consume nuts, while the rest may be allergic to dairy.
There are a bunch of different food groups that every individual may not be able to digest as well as others. However, even with terrible allergic reactions, some of us still give in to those tempting dishes. #foodislife
Khoo Siew Hong, 60, was just like any of us with food allergies. She wasn’t supposed to consume shellfish but on March 8, 2017, it must have been too difficult to refuse.
Siew Hong was unemployed and used a wheelchair to move around. To aid her, she had two helpers, Rosemarie Bastareche and Ten Ah Boh.
According to the Straits Times, the three of them live with Siew Hong’s sister in a flat at Lorong 3 Geylang, Singapore.
On March 4, the four ladies went out to a restaurant where Siew Hong actually had some prawn dumplings. At that time, there wasn’t any visible sign of an allergic reaction.
Then, on March 8, the maids made laksa and Siew Hong asked for some prawns. The maids gave her two pieces.
About two and a half hours later, Siew Hong suddenly felt itchy. To battle the allergy, Rosemarie gave her an antihistamine tablet.
Five minutes after, the allergy became worse as the elderly woman’s face developed rashes and swelled up. In the next 20 minutes that followed, Siew Hong suddenly had difficulty breathing.
After a while, the woman suddenly went limp.
That was when the helper called the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). Through the phone, the SCDF guided Rosemarie on how to perform CPR until the paramedics arrived at 3.40pm.
Siew Hong was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and was given 12 adrenaline shots. Unfortunately, she just couldn’t regain consciousness.
After discussing with her family and receiving consent, the doctors took the ventilator off Siew Hong. She passed away at 9.50pm.
After the autopsy, the coroner revealed that Siew Hong unfortunately passed away from severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) due to her food allergy. She had fluid accumulated in her larynx and her lungs.
On August 21, State Coroner Marvin Bay told the press that it is very important to take food allergies seriously.
He said, “Allergic reactions to prawns and other shellfish can be unpredictable, with varying symptoms between different individuals.”
“A single individual may not always experience the same symptoms during every reaction, which may have lulled Ms Khoo into a sense of complacency that such episodes could readily be addressed and controlled,” he explained.
“Often, the allergic reactions become more severe with each exposure.
“The only absolute way to prevent shellfish allergy is to avoid all shellfish and all products that contain shellfish.”
“When dining out, it is prudent to ask how the food is prepared, and read food labels carefully,” he advised.
Now, we all know some people who like to say “it’s okay, it’s just a bit” when it comes to those prohibited foods and drinks. Do tag those friends of yours as this will serve as a reminder as to how quiet yet deadly these allergies are.
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