Dairy allergy schoolboy died after fellow pupil flicked cheese slice at him, inquest hears

A schoolboy allergic to diary who had “cheese put down his collar for no reason” shouted “I’m going to die” minutes before he was given an out-of-date epipen, an inquest heard.

The 13 year-old boy died after another pupil flicked a piece of cheese at him at school.

Karanbir Singh Cheema, known as Karan, suffered a serious reaction when the slice – described as half the size of a post-it note – hit him in the neck area.

The teenager was taken to the medical room at William Perkin Church of England High School in Greenford, west London, given the drug piriton, an epipen and his inhaler but stopped breathing shortly after paramedics arrived.

Karan, described as “so bright he could have been anything he wanted”, was taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital but died ten days later on 9 July 2017 with his family by his side.

It took under 10 minutes for Karanbir Singh Cheema, known as Karan, to go from “absolutely fine” to unconscious after another pupil “flicked” a slice of cheese half the size of a Post It note at him.

The 13-year-old boy went into anaphylactic shock at just before midday on June 28, 2017.

He was severely allergic to wheat, gluten, all dairy products, eggs and nuts and was also asthmatic and suffered from atopic eczema.

Another pupil at the school, who apologised to Karan’s family yesterday, said he “flicked” a small piece of cheese at him but claimed he didn’t know he was allergic.

Today St Pancras Coroner’s court heard Karan approached science teacher Lucjan Santos on break duty after he was hit on the neck with the cheese

Mr Santos added Karan seemed “absolutely fine” but the inquest heard just three minutes later in the school’s welfare room he started showing symptoms of anaphylactic shock prompting staff to administer an epipen.

The inquest heard yesterday the epipen used was an entire year out-of-date due to an error on a spreadsheet.

Mr Santos, who at the time was science teacher at the school and was monitoring the cafeteria said: “Karan walked up to me, asked do you know (the boy) and I replied ‘yes, what’s up’.

“Karan told me ‘he put some cheese down my collar for no reason, then he pointed to the back of his neck.

“I said ‘that’s not very nice’, then Karan continued and said ‘and I’m allergic to cheese’.

“I told him to head down to the school welfare room and tell them what had happened … and to ask them for an incident form.

“My impression was that it has probably just happened – health wise he it looked like he was absolutely fine.

“He approached me calmly – I noted when he said ‘for no reason’ that he was annoyed by it.

“I noticed he was scratching the back of his neck as he walked but he walked calmly away and didn’t look like he was rushing to get there.

“There was nothing in his behaviour or appearance that caused me concern.”

But administrator Bonny Campbell, who was first aid trained, became “alarmed” about Karan’s symptoms and called in another staff member for help.

Ms Campbell said: “He said an incident had happened at the school and he asked for Periton.”

She called his mum to tell her he was going to take it because the school had failed to do so previously and the medication made Karan drowsy.

After Karan took his Periton, Ms Campbell said: “He was getting a little bit more irritated and was getting a bit panicked, he was scratching his tummy as well.

“He was tugging at his clothes – he started to really alarm me so I popped my head out to Nicola and asked her if she wanted to come in.

“When I came back he was leaning over the sink slightly gasping, I noticed a bit of blood coming through the back of his shirt.

“He started to be a bit more erratic and then I shouted at Faye (the receptionist) to call the ambulance because Karan’s having an allergic reaction.”

The two staff members fought to keep Karan calm, while one administered the epipen, which unbeknown to them was a year out-of-date.

Ms Campbell said: “Almost immediately after that he went limp and his eyes drooped.”

Senior Coroner Mary Hassell asked: “He was unconscious?”

Ms Campbell said: “Yes.”

Representing Karan’s family, Andrew Hogarth QC, said: “He was shouting ‘I’m going to die’ – did you not think a second epipen would be a good idea at this stage?”

Ms Campbell said: “That was before he really deteriorated, he was panicking and also we were waiting for an ambulance crew who said they were going to be there shortly.”

Karan, who was still unconscious when paramedics arrived at 11.49am, was brought to Northwick Park hospital and then transferred to Great Ormond Street.

Tragically he never woke up and died ten days later on July 9 with his family by his side.

The inquest continues.


Since you’re here …

Real, independent, investigative journalism is in alarming decline. It costs a lot to produce. Many publications facing an uncertain future can no longer afford to fund it. This means journalists are losing the ability to hold the rich and powerful to account.

We do not charge or put articles behind a paywall. If you can, please show your appreciation for our free content by donating whatever you think is fair to help keep TLE growing.

Every penny we collect from donations supports vital investigative and independent journalism. You can also help us grow by inviting your friends to follow us on social media.

Donate Now Button

Leave a Reply