7th Grader Dies After Eating School Party Food

A 7th grader is dead. Was it a reaction to peanut oil in the take-out food she ate at a school party that killed her?

UPDATED 12/21/10 9:43 a.m.

CHICAGO (AP/WBBM) – Officials with Chicago Public Schools are investigating the death of a 13-year-old girl who had an allergic reaction to food she ate at school.

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Seventh-grader Katelyn Carlson of the Sauganash neighborhood was rushed from Edison Regional Gifted Center, 4929 N. Sawyer Ave., to a hospital on Friday. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office says she died of anaphylaxis, a severe reaction to a food allergy.

The Chicago Tribune reports that parents of other students say school officials told them the girl had a reaction to the peanut oil in Chinese food ordered from a restaurant for a class party.

Emergency crews initially took Katelyn, of the 6100 block of North Karlov Avenue, to Swedish Covenant Hospital in serious-to-critical condition, a fire department spokesman said. However, she was later transferred to Children’s Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 5:40 p.m., according to the medical examiner’s office.

School officials say they’re investigating, but they aren’t releasing any details. Grief counselors were at the school Monday to help Katelyn’s classmates.

One man whose daughter also has a peanut allergy and who was a classmate of Katelyn, told the Tribune his daughter assured him earlier last week that a teacher had called the restaurant several times to make sure peanuts would not be used in the food.

The father said his own daughter did not have a bad reaction to the food.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WBBM contributed to this report.)

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  • Susan

    Very tragic. I am wondering why the child ate catered food in the first place if she knew she had a food alergy? I will never again bring any food that I have cooked to a office party. I dont want to have any repurcussions about someone getting sick. The parent should of been giveing her a bag lunch everyday so no mistakes would be made about what their child was consuming.

    • Ann

      They were assured that there would be no peanut products. dont blame her parents. they were assured. so stop being bummish

    • JA

      It’s always a joy when people like Susan take the time to scold the relatives of a recently deceased person. Perhaps Susan “should of” refrained from commenting if she didn’t have anything good to say.

      • Michelle Griffin

        I agree, perhaps they were trying to allow there child to live a normal life. Being aware of her restriction, the teacher and her parents did what they could to prevent this from happening. Test the remaining food to see if it was cook with peanut oil’ if so the restaurant is at fault. The parents should work towards shutting this establishment down to insure this never happens again, if it is discovered peanut was used in preparing this food, the owners lied, they should be held accountable. Not the parents or the teacher.

      • I do it for the t-shirts

        Grammar aside, is she wrong?

        …Okay, you can go back to canonizing every person that dies now.

      • D.L.

        I have to agree

  • BeBe

    If you can’t say anything appropriate don’t say anything at all. You are in need of sensitivity training. OR is that your futile attempt at being an intellectual?

  • Johnny Bravo

    I am a student at the school in the seventh grade class and I was present at the time of the party. Originally, our teacher warned us that nuts might be in food and he will try his best to get them removed. He then called the restaurant and made sure they would use substitutes.
    Now Katelyn didn’t have really bad allergic reactions to peanuts in the air. She had to physically consume them in order for this to happen.

    • Juliette Sharpie

      Yeah, our teacher couldn’t have made it more clear that he didn’t want peanuts or peanut products in the food.
      Though, Johnny, at a sports event we went to a few yars ago, she was having a reaction to the peanut shells around us. Of course, it wasn’t as bad, but still a reaction

    • Parent of Allergic Child

      Do you know if Katelyn had an epi pen at school and if she did, did anyone try to give it to her? Thank you so much for sharing. We are so sorry by this tragic loss of Katelyn and are thinking of all her classmates, family and friends.

      • Akinrinade

        She did, it was in her locker (with a combo) teachers did have a key, but epected her to be okay. Also, she was fine for quite some time, when suddely she couldnt brethe. we were waiting at school because her mother, who is a doctor, was on her way to my school.

  • sherryw

    As one that has had food allergies all of my life as well as siblings that have them,I was stunned at the reaction of a woman that posted that she felt the parents should be to blame ….#1 I am 42 have had them all of my life,My sister who……m is 9 years older then I has had them as well. She was in a store once and they had bakery samples out and she asked if there were any nuts in them when the samples were offered she was assured there was not. She tried it and then had a reaction that closed her throat there were infact no nuts in them but the oil used to cook them did and it almost took her life. #2 I have a son that has food allergies as well I do not live in chicago at this time but I do live in Illinois, My sons school has his epi pen and inhailers etc and a list of possible allergins, None the less there are different reactions to different things such as hives,itchy skin,asthma,abdominal issues,mood swings,anxiety,and finally anylphylaxus which is the most deadly.what some may call hyper active may be an allergic reation, The tricky thing is that one may have a small reaction or no reaction at one point and then have a serious reaction to another to an irritant that maybe non leathal for others.This is a very sad tragic situation that this family is facing and my heart trully goes out to them. To place blame is a terrible tragic mistake that I think is appauling. The most important issue is to educate all others on the possibility of food reactions that are infact at this time on the rise with all of the additives and processed foods that are a conveinenece,and easier to afford when you are on a budget.My son will be 7 years old and at a time when he has no reaction to corn,hyfructose corn syrup can make him bounce off the walls,I fear that he may take his nut allergies lightly because he does not have the same reaction to corn products which by the way are in everything processed. I try to educate him as well as others and I still will have a reaction to something even after all these years of avoidance of the things I know are dangerous for me. #3 This family has suffered a terrible tragic loss,and to blame them is horrible.I think what is to blame is lack of education of this issue to resturants, That need to not make light of inquiries as to what ingredients are in or used to make a product,to schools to know that one can have a reaction to things even if they have had it before,and what to do and have emergency precautions in place at all times. The Family the teachers the students and the staff are all going to have to deal with the trauma of this for a long time,My heart and prayers for all.

  • carlotta

    please just prey for the family and the kids in her class, its the restaurants faults

  • http://debralegg.com/2010/12/21/yes-lets-have-food-allergy-policies-everywhere/ Yes, let’s have food allergy policies everywhere | 9to5to9

    […] that did indeed contain egg. There's peanut-free, and then there's the kind of peanut-free that killed a girl in Chicago last week after she ate Asian food at a school party. The restaurant had assured her mom repeatedly […]

  • Beth

    The family does not appear to have been given the basic information they needed to give to the school to give the the teacher in order to keep their child safe. This is a shame. The doctor of this child is at fault in my opinion. There are things considered basic to food allergies that the family did not know. Food allergies can be life threatening. They did not appear to know that. Everyone with a food allergy should carry 2 epi pens with them. Chinese food is not safe for those with peanut, nut and sesame and other food allergies. Cross contamination is very, very likely in Chinese restaurants even in dishes that do not contain peanuts or nuts. The parents of this child should have been told this basic information by their doctor. They should have seen an allergy specialist. It is a tragedy that they weren’t given this information and that the school and teacher weren’t given this information. I’d assume the restaurant also was not told that they must prevent cross contamination with peanuts as well. Even using the same knife or utensil or cooking pan as something with allergens and not washing well enough can leave enough peanut protein to cause a life threatening reaction. It does not sound like the parents, teacher, or restaurant were told this vital information. This is a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to the family, teacher, classmates and the restaurant. I would like to see better education out there so this type of thing doesn’t happen again!

    • Akinrinade

      Actually, I am the student that is also allergic to peanuts, and she and her parents have known that she was allergic to peanuts since kindergarten. Her mother also happens to be a doctor, and she did not have an epipen on her. But it was in the building. Unfortunately, no one expected that this was going to happen so they didnt take it as seriously as they could have, by using the key to open her locker. If you dont know the complete story, since this event wasnt taken as far as it could have been, since the parents do not want to cause problems with this wonderful school, because after all blaming someone will not help the matter.

  • Ann

    Yes, but she couldn’t talk.

  • Akinrinade

    Also i would like to comment that anyone that isnt alergic to something so if commonly used,should not be saying that Katelyn shouldnt have eaten any. If you were her, or me (daughter of Matthew Akinrinade) then you would understand how excited everyone was for this party. She even tagged me in a post saying how EXCITED she was to eat the food! If you are reading an atricle, and you misiterprate that she was more allergic to me, she wasnt. She had aneggroll which was mostlikely glued together with peanut butter, then the chineese food place, when asked multiple times if they used peanuts, they should have allerted my teacher that they used iit. But even if us students would like to blame someone for this, there is not a single person to blame, or a single this to do that would bring katelyn back. Please just dont comment saying something like “i blame the parents” or “i blame her”, DONT because we want to remember Katelyn as the beautiful, funny, kind, giving girl that she was, and will continue being wherever she is. Also dont comment things that are going to be ofensive to her, because it offends us. Already we are going through another worry,with again another student in the hospital, of an unknown sickness

  • habibi

    I feel very sorry for this family. What a tragic! My 5 year old has sever nut and sesame allergies. I keep 2 at school. One with her main teacher and another one in the office. She never eats anything other than what I send in her lunchbox and never shares in birthday parties. I sent a personal cupcake from home. We have had mild to severe reactions before and not one time are they the same. If you have allergies to nuts and sesame I would never eat Asian food. Its too risky with cross contamination. May god bless this family….

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