Teenager killed by allergy he didn’t know he had after family meal at restaurant

A teenage student who didn't know he was allergic to seafood died after eating prawns at a Chinese restaurant, an inquest heard.

Aspiring painter and decorator Sam Collings, 19, suffered a fatal heart attack after the family meal in Darwen, Lancashire.

Despite emergency treatment, he suffered catastrophic organ failure and died the following morning, just two weeks before his 20th birthday.

He had occasionally complained of a "scratchy throat" when eating prawns or eggs previously, but had never been diagnosed with or suspected that he suffered from a serious allergy, the inquest was told.

Following the hearing, Sam's family said they "could not have asked for a better son".


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His father Steven Collings said: “The family is broken up beyond words by what has happened.”

Sam, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, was unaware that he was allergic to prawns when he ordered the fish dish at a restaurant on August 3 last year.

After eating the prawn starter, problems were not immediately apparent and it was not until the student was out with his friends more than an hour later that he complained of difficulty breathing.

His condition quickly became worse and when paramedics arrived they found he had suffered from a heart attack brought on by anaphylactic shock.

An inquest at Lancashire Coroner’s Court heard that Sam’s family had never suspected that he suffered from any serious allergies.

He had occasionally complained of a "scratchy throat" when eating prawns or eggs, but the problems subsided quickly.

Area coroner James Newman said: “I note the history that Samuel was never formally diagnosed with severe allergic reactions.

“Mr Collings suffered a cardiac arrest after an anaphylactic reaction to eating prawns.

"He had only the slightest history of any such allergy and no history of a serious reaction to previously consumed prawns.”

According to a post-mortem, the heart attack caused Sam to suffer from catastrophic multiple organ failure, which ultimately led to his death.

After going through written evidence from doctors who treated Sam, Mr Newman concluded that his death was the result of an accident which could not have been anticipated by either his family or medical professionals.

“The level of his reaction couldn’t have been predicted by the evidence available to him,” he concluded.

“Despite maximal medical therapy, he passed away at the Royal Bolton Hospital on the 4th of August 2019 as a result of the anaphylaxis.”

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