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Peanuts Can Kill

By 12 April 2013Consumer Law

Rosie is a cheerful, gap-toothed , grade one in a small primary school.

She has friends, but is shy and struggles in unfamiliar situations. Rosie is fair to middling at her school work, loves to read, can now almost write in a straight line, she runs with complete uncoordinated.

She loves her Nana and ice blocks.

Rosie is a member of an elite group. She is one of 2% of Australian children who are Anaphylactic. Rosie suffers from food allergies. Peanut paste could kill her.

When Rosie’s mother approached the school regarding policy on Anaphyactic students, she was horrified to learn, no such policy existed.

This was prompted by the disappearance of Rosie’s lifesaving device, an Epipen. Since this episode, procedures are now in place to ensure all teachers are aware of Rosie’s condition, the accessibility of the Epipen, and importantly are trained in the use of the device.

If something had happened to Rosie, would the school have been liable? Undoubtedly.

In a case recently settled out of court, a coroner slammed a prestigious Melbourne college over a tragic incident. During a college cadet camp in 2007, the boy was given army ration packs containing a satay dish ( ingredient peanuts ). School staff reacted too slowly in administering the Epipen. They were not ” comfortable ” doing so. The boy subsequently died.