This is an update to our previous story regarding the tragic death of 13-year-old Natalie Giorgi, who accidentally ingested a treat containing peanut butter and suffered a fatal bout of anaphylaxis. We publish this to provide details of the epinephrine administration as requested by many of our readers.
The Sacramento Bee reports that upon learning that Natalie had bit into a snack containing peanut butter, she was given a dose of Benadryl®, presumably by one of her parents. She seemed fine after the incident, smiling and enjoying herself.
Twenty minutes after ingesting the treat, Natalie began vomiting and experienced labored breathing. Her father, urologist Dr. Louis Giorgi, immediately administered the first dose of epinephrine via EpiPen®, and then two more doses within several minutes after her symptoms failed to subside. She stopped breathing shortly afterward and could not be revived despite CPR.
We at SnackSafely.com are devastated by the news of another child succumbing to fatal anaphylaxis and are deeply concerned by the confusion within the food allergy community regarding when to administer epinephrine and antihistamines like Benadryl.
If you care for a child with food allergy, we urge you to contact the child’s allergist to develop an emergency action plan. The plan should include strategies for (1) when you suspect your child has ingested an allergen but is not showing symptoms (as was the case with Natalie) and (2) for when your child is showing signs of anaphylaxis.
Don’t forget to share these plans with your child, family, and friends and be sure to review these plans with your child’s school administration including the school nurse, teachers, and principal.