KILLED IN 3 BITES: Teen dies from allergic reaction after restaurant messes up no-sesame burrito order
Joe Dobson's friends claimed he took just three bites and realized there was sesame in it but the restaurant staff didn't seem concerned
The incident happened last year on November 1, when Joe Dobson, 19, and his pal decided to try a fusion restaurant during their trip to the seaside resort town of Playa Del Carmen in the Mexican region of Quintana Roo. At the restaurant, Joe ordered a vegetarian burrito and clearly instructed the staff not to put sesame in his order as he is allergic to it, South London Coroner's Court heard on Wednesday, September 28.
Joe warned the restaurant staff not just in English but also in Spanish. His friends claimed he took just three bites of his burrito and realized there is sesame in it but the restaurant staff didn't seem concerned about his condition and wouldn't call an ambulance. Joe usually carried an EpiPen with him but on this particular day, he forgot it in their apartment. By the time they got back and used it on him, it was too late.
The teen soon became unable to breathe and slipped into an unconscious state before being rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The coroner revealed that Joe was also allergic to eggs, milk, and peanut.
In a statement read out by the coroner at the court, Harriet Preston, a close friend of the teen, said Joe told the staff that if he ate sesame he would die. "Joe's meal arrived again and I watched him put his torch light over it. He took two bites and said no, that's got it in it. He went over to the bar staff, they were in denial. He could feel it in his throat. He said he needed an ambulance but the staff was reluctant. The staff did not treat our situation like it was. There was no basic first aid or knowledge," she said.
Another friend of Joe, who was also with him that night, said, "This time he noticed the burrito looked different. He sent it back but it looked no different. He repeated his allergies multiple times. He took one to three bites, he felt something was wrong. He let the group know. He did not have his EpiPen on him. He was becoming more urgent in his requests, had the honey drink."
The friend continued, "He went to the apartment to get his EpiPen. He ran to the taxi and the driver was very casual, walking slowly to the door. He did not understand the severity at all. This escalated by the time we got to the apartment. Joe went straight to the lifts. He fell over. I ran upstairs to get the pens, got them, and ran back down. Joe had managed to crawl into the lift and come up to our floor so I dragged him out of the lift and got the pens out but the pens did not help him.”
Deaths related to food allergies have been on the rise, despite campaigns for stricter food laws. The parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, who died after eating a Pret a Manger baguette with sesame, welcomed the introduction of 'Natasha's Law' last year, which mandates full ingredient and allergen labeling on food.