Toddler dies after eating grilled cheese sandwich at school despite documented allergy

A toddler tragically lost his life after having an allergic reaction and it was all due to the carelessness of his school staff. 3-year-old Elijah Silvera was at his Manhattan preschool when he was given a grilled cheese sandwich for his meal even though he was allergic to dairy. In a GoFundMe page that was set up by a family friend, it was revealed that on November 3, 2017, the toddler “was given a grilled cheese sandwich by an adult at the pre-K, despite them knowing and having documented that he has a severe allergy to dairy.”

Even after the child consumed the food no F.D.N.Y. ambulances were called to the Seventh Avenue Center for Family Services in Harlem, said a spokesman for the Fire Department. A cousin of Elijah’s father, Ruben Porras, also said that the school did not call an ambulance but instead notified the boy’s mother who then took him to the hospital. “Elijah went into anaphylactic shock and was taken to the Pediatric ER at Harlem Hospital, where, tragically, they were unable to save him,” read the fundraising page according to NY Times.

Elijah’s heartbroken father, Thomas, told ABC News that the school “did not provide the proper protocol” because if they did, his son’s death could have been avoided. “I’m pissed off that this had to happen to my son, but the next thing I don’t want is it to happen to somebody else’s son or daughter,” he said. Thomas and his wife said that they had done “everything” to make sure that their child’s school was aware of his allergy and had also provided them proper medications and paperwork.

Despite this, Elijah’s allergies were “pushed to the side,” expressed his father. He then stressed the importance of educational facilities taking “steps and measures” to ensure everyone in the facility is aware of the severity of children’s allergies. Understandably, the family experienced unimaginable pain after losing their beloved son. “The death of the child is the hardest,” said Thomas. “He was strong. He was a fighter. I’m gonna keep fighting for that boy.” Even the boy’s older brother Sebastian asked his family if they could use a rocket ship to get his sibling back from heaven, revealed Thomas heartbreakingly. Now, they are spreading awareness about the seriousness of allergies and the proper care for it so that such a tragedy never happens to another family.

The pre-K center was a program overseen by the city’s Administration for Children’s Services and the Health Department. But following Elijah’s death the Health Department shut down the school for its inadequate supervision of a child and also for failing to follow its own written safety plan. “There is nothing more important than the safety of our children and we are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” expressed spokesman for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Christopher R. Miller. “We will get to the bottom of what happened here. In the meantime, we closed the Center for Family Services and are continuing to aggressively investigate what happened and whether the facility could have done something differently to prevent this tragedy.”

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