Could £45 Epi-Pen have saved Me­gan?

Accrington Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

JESSICA SANSOME

THE par­ents of a school­girl who died fol­low­ing an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to a take­away have re­vealed the fail­ings that led to her death.

Me­gan Lee trag­i­cally died on New Year’s Day 2016, af­ter she had an asthma at­tack and went into ana­phy­lac­tic shock hav­ing eaten a take­away.

The 15-year-old or­dered an In­dian meal from the Royal Spice Take­away in her home town via de­liv­ery firm Just Eat and warned staff of her al­lergy to nuts.

A in­ves­ti­ga­tion found Me­gan’s meal, which in­cluded an onion bhaji, a seekh ke­bab and Pesh­wari naan, had ‘wide­spread pres­ence’ of peanut pro­tein.

Two take­away bosses have since been jailed for the man­slaugh­ter of Me­gan, but her par­ents Gemma, 35, and Adam, 37, have many unan­swered ques­tions.

The dev­as­tated cou­ple, who have a nine-year-old son Owen, say that a cat­a­logue of fail­ures led to their daugh­ter’s death, be­liev­ing Me­gan was wrongly di­ag­nosed with hav­ing “mild” al­ler­gies.

The teenager from Oswaldtwistle was never is­sued with an EpiPen, which might have saved her life.

Gemma said: “We’ve learned that teenage girls are more at risk of ana­phy­laxis be­cause their bod­ies are chang­ing.

“Me­gan should have had an EpiPen. If she’d had one, would things have turned out differently? We have no way of know­ing but we’ve asked our­selves many times.”

They are now call­ing for an­nual med­i­cal re­views for all al­lergy suf­fers and for more peo­ple to be is­sued with the med­i­cal de­vice - which costs just £45.

Adam added: “No al­lergy should ever be de­scribed as ‘mild’ be­cause al­ler­gies are so un­pre­dictable.

“Since Me­gan’s death, we have had in­for­ma­tion which shows she should have been cat­e­gorised as high risk. Why weren’t her al­ler­gies re­viewed ev­ery year?”

In Oc­to­ber 2018, a jury at Manch­ester Crown Court found Royal Spice take­away owner Mo­hammed Ab­dul Kud­dus, 40, and man­ager Harun Rashid, 38, guilty of un­law­fully killing Me­gan by rea­son of gross neg­li­gence.

Both were handed jail sen­tences ear­lier this month.

Guest re­la­tions man­ager Gemma said: “I don’t feel ha­tred to­wards them but it might have helped if they’d pleaded guilty. I wish they’d just said, ‘We’ve caused a death and we’re dev­as­tated’.

“They had a com­plete lack of re­spect for us. But if I thought meet­ing them and telling them how hard our lives are with­out Me­gan would have an im­pact, I’d prob­a­bly do it.”

Me­gan’s par­ents de­scribed her as a model pupil who had a love for mu­si­cal the­atre and dreamed of be­ing a West End ac­tress.

She was just eight when she was di­ag­nosed with a nut al­lergy and al­ways took ex­tra care when choos­ing food and never or­dered any­thing con­tain­ing any traces of nuts.

Also speak­ing of the toll Me­gan’s death has had on the fam­ily, Gemma said: “There were times I thought it might break us but Me­gan made us fight for our re­la­tion­ship.

“She’d never wanted us to split.”

Now, Gemma and Adam are com­mit­ted to pre­vent­ing more al­ler­gyre­lated deaths.

Gemma said: “The lessons that can be learned are im­por­tant. Me­gan would want us to help oth­ers and stop this from hap­pen­ing to some­one else.” have

Ju­lian Hamil­ton

Gemma and Adam Lee, the par­ents of Me­gan Lee (in­set) who died from an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to a take­away meal

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