Schoolboy, 14, with severe dairy allergy died after eating popcorn while watching movie at Odeon Cinema with his parents – having left his life-saving EpiPen at home, inquest hears
- Ruben Bousquet died after eating sweet popcorn while at an Odeon Cinema
- Ruben was a promising player in the London Knightz ice hockey team
- The boy, aged 14, was allergic to cow’s milk, raw egg and soya
A talented young ice hockey player died aged just 14 following an allergic reaction after eating popcorn at an Odeon cinema when he left his EpiPen at home.
Ruben Bousquet died after eating sweet popcorn while watching a film with his parents at an Odeon Cinema in London.
The teenager had regularly visited that cinema as a child and had eaten the same sweet popcorn he had eaten on the day he died, his mother told Southwark Coroner’s Court today.
Ruben Bousquet, 14, left his EpiPen at home when he visited the Odeon to watch a film with his parents
Ruben, a promising player in the London Knightz ice hockey team, was allergic to cows milk, raw egg and soya. Food allergies ran in the family, the court heard.
The youngster had suffered multiple prior anaphylactic shocks including in March 2017 which he survived after taking a shot of his epipen.
On the day he died the teenager was watching a film with his parents and had been eating popcorn with a Fanta drink during the screening at around 8.30pm on April 18 2018.
As he started to feel unwell the family decided to return to their home in Balham, London, to access Ruben’s EpiPen, which he had left behind, the court heard.
His family called 999 at 20:39.
Ruben was breathing fine when they got in the car but as the journey continued he complained of hives on his torso, his mother told the court.
Judith Bousquet, an HR manager, said that her son began ‘pulling at his throat’ within minutes of reaching their home.
She said: ‘As soon as he mentioned he didn’t feel well, we said let’s go. At that point there were no signs of great stress.
‘When we walked to the car my husband asked how his breathing was, he said “that’s fine, that’s fine”.’
She added: ‘But at about two to three minutes from the house he started pulling at his throat. He couldn’t even talk, I could see he was struggling, struggling with everything. His chest was puffed up and swollen.’
On the day he died the teenager was watching a film with his parents and had been eating popcorn with a Fanta drink during the screening at around 8.30pm on April 18 2018
Once at home Mrs Bousquet administered two shots of his epipen. After the second shot Ruben collapsed and fell unconscious before his mum started CPR.
Ambulance crews arrived soon after and took over the CPR before taking him to Evelina Children’s Hospital in central London where he later died.
Ruben was diagnosed as allergic to certain foodstuffs at 18-months old and given an epipen.
He also suffered from asthma, conjunctivitis, and eczema, in addition to his food allergies.
Asked if she had questions, Mrs Bousquet said: ‘I wonder whether or not if I put the EpiPen into his chest and not in his thigh whether it would have made any difference. His tongue was swollen.’
Asked to respond, Dr Susan Chang told her: ‘It definitely is not advised to put the EpiPen into the chest. I hope you don’t feel amiss by not doing that.’
The coroner asked one of Ruben’s doctors whether his asthma may have contributed to his death.
Ruben was diagnosed as allergic to certain foodstuffs at 18-months old and given an EpiPen
Dr Chang said: ‘Having asthma gives a higher risk of more severe anaphylactic reactions.
‘It does ring alarm bells if a child has had a number of severe reactions. It is highly likely that he died from a food-related anaphylactic episode.’
Speaking at Southwark Coroner’s Court today (Wed), senior coroner Andrew Harris said: ‘There is a complex matrix of facts and evidence to consider, not all is consistent.’
The inquest is in the first of three days. The cause of death is yet to be confirmed.
During the course of the inquest representatives from Odeon Cinemas, the Food Standards Agency, the London Ambulance Service and Royal London Borough of Greenwich are scheduled to give evidence.
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