A preschool in New York City is under investigation after a 3-year-old boy died after he reportedly had an allergic reaction to a grilled cheese sandwich he was served for lunch. ABC reports that an employee at the Seventh Avenue Center for Family Service in Harlem served the toddler the sandwich last week, allegedly ignoring school records that documented that the toddler was severely allergic to dairy products.
The report states that the New York City Fire Department has confirmed 911 was not called when the toddler, named Elijah, had a severe allergic reaction to the sandwich. Instead, one of the employees is said to have called the boy’s mother and she transported him to the hospital after she arrived at the preschool.
According to a statement on the GoFundMe account set up to help Elijah’s family, the little boy “went into anaphylactic shock” after he was served the sandwich. After his mother, Dina, arrived at the school, the boy’s mother transported him to the Pediatric ER at Harlem Hospital where he later died.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, between 2 and 3 percent of children ages 3 and under are allergic to milk and other dairy products. Symptoms range from hives, upset stomach, and/or vomiting to anaphylaxis, a condition that impairs breathing and can cause the body to go into shock.
To date, Elijah’s GoFundMe has collected close to $30,000. In addition to using the money for a funeral and other expenses, some of the donated money will be used to pay for a second autopsy to help the boy’s parents determine who is ultimately responsible for his death. According to PBS, the fee for an independent autopsy can cost between $3,000 and $5,000, with additional fees often charged for transporting the body to an autopsy facility.
“At this moment, it is unclear where responsibility for Elijah’s death will fall between the pre-k and the hospital itself,” a statement on the GoFundMe page reads. “We want to find out exactly what caused Elijah’s death and that will mean sorting out exactly where, if any, breakdowns may have occurred at either the school or the hospital. Having a third party medical examination will ensure our ability to get a clear picture. We just want justice for Elijah.”
A spokesman for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tells ABC News that the Seventh Avenue Center for Family Service, where the incident took place, is currently closed as they “aggressively investigate” the boy’s death.
Elijah leaves behind his parents, Thomas and Dina, and his 5-year-old brother, Sebastian.
[Featured Image by dlerick/iStock]