Allergy specialists in the US and Canada have described as a “tragedy” the death of a toddler during an oral food challenge at a US hospital. It’s reported three-year-old Alastair Watson died last month during a routine challenge to see if he could tolerate foods containing baked milk.
In a joint statement , The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology , American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology said diagnosing food allergy is not always simple and multiple aspects of a person’s history must be considered in determining if a patient is a candidate for an oral food challenge, including recent or concurrent illness.
“This is the first reported fatality associated with an oral food allergy challenge. While even one death is too many, oral food challenges are considered the ‘gold standard’ test to determine if someone is allergic to a food,” the statement said.
They said to ensure patient safety, challenges should only take place in an office or hospital setting, with appropriate staff, and with documentation of informed consent which details that the risks and benefits of the procedure were explained to the patient or caregiver.