11-Year-Old Raffi Pownall of Burnley, England died after his dad served him a Morrison’s chocolate bar as a treat. Although his son had a severe dairy allergy, he thought it was safe to eat.
The tragic accident happened at 4 pm on Saturday, June 8. The boy’s father, Tom Pownall had purchased a chocolate bar from Morrison’s ‘free from’ range.
When they came home, he served Raffi three to four chunks of the chocolate bar as a treat for his son. Raffi had hardly swallowed any, “when he immediately became distressed from a very small piece,” the father said in a statement to the Blackburn inquest, according to The Manchester Evening News.
Pownall immediately checked the ingredients which stated the bar was gluten-free, but not dairy-free. It contained milk powder.
Raffi became short of breath and started to vomit. “Raffi was sick, but we thought he wouldn’t need to go to the hospital because similar attacks had happened in the past and he had recovered,” his father told the outlet.
His father immediately administered his son an inhaler and an EpiPen—an adrenaline shot used to treat severe acute allergic reactions—but to no avail.
Later, his father would say to the inquest, “We gave him some water to try and cool him down after being sick and used his inhaler and epi-pen. However, it was clear this wasn’t working, and emergency services were called. He was taken to the hospital where he sadly passed away,” the father continued.
The coroner’s office ruled it a tragic accident and determined that Raffi died because of “anaphylaxis secondary to the ingestion of milk-containing food, multiple allergies, and severe asthma.”
The inquest also determined that the father did everything he could to save his son.
“I genuinely believed this bar was a free-from-dairy chocolate bar. This has been tragic. It was ingested entirely by accident,” Tom said.
A spokesman for the Yā Sīn Institute, the school Rafi attended, said: “He was a lovely boy who was a pleasure to teach and he will be missed dearly. Our condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with Raffi’s family. Words are not sufficient to describe this loss.”
Family friend Waseem Mahmood said: “Raffi was a beautiful child, full of life, intelligent and superseding his age. He would often attend programs and retreats with his mother, and he was an absolute joy to be around, and this is a great loss for us.”
In a similar incident, an 11-year-old boy died in New Jersey on New year’s Day after smelling fish.
11-Year-Old Boy Dies After Suspected Allergic Reaction to Smell of Cooking Fish, Says Father
A New Jersey boy died of an apparent allergic reaction after inhaling fumes from fish cooking in the family’s kitchen, according to his father.
“Daddy, I love you,” Camron Jean-Pierre, 11, the boy told his father, Steven Jean-Pierre, reported the New York Post. “He gave me two kisses,” he said, as the boy faded in and out of consciousness.
The father and son had traveled from New Jersey to spend New Year’s Day with his grandmother in Brooklyn.
— New York Post (@nypost) January 2, 2019
“It just so happens they was cooking it when we came in,” added Jean-Pierre. “Usually he don’t get nothing that severe.”
He said the fish fumes overwhelmed the boy, and he passed out before his death, the paper reported.
Jean-Pierre said it was known that his son had an allergy to fish, and the New York Daily News reported that he had asthma as well. The father administered the child’s nebulizer for asthma, but the child couldn’t catch a breath, according to the New York Post.
“I [tried] to give him the machine—that usually works—but it didn’t take, and then I just called the ambulance,” said the heartbroken father.
As he waited for an ambulance to arrive, Jean-Pierre desperately tried to resuscitate his son with CPR. “It felt like he had no pulse. I [tried] to give him CPR and he came back,” but the boy slipped away, he added to the Post.
The boy was taken to Brookdale Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
“My son was the best,” the father said. “He made everyone around him happy. He made his dad happy.”
Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.