SHAFAQNA – For some people coming into contact with peanuts can be fatal. Such a case happened on November 18 when Oakland University student, Chandler Swink died following exposure to peanuts. Reportedly, the 19-year-old visited a friend’s home to hang out. Someone in the home baked peanut butter cookies, it is unknown if Swink came into direct contact with the ingredients or if he touched someone who had handled the cookies. Feeling unwell, Swink drove himself to the St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital. Medical personnel discovered the student out in the parking lot around 1 a.m., where he was suffering from anaphylactic shock.
The nursing student was immediately admitted, and fell into a coma for a week. This past Wednesday he passed away with the cause of death being listed as simultaneous onset of anaphylactic shock and a cardiac arrest.
Swink was originally diagnosed with the allergy when he was just 2-years-old. The student was well liked by his classmates and received the Huntington Ford Scholarship last year. The scholarship covers full intuition for a full four years, and is granted to candidates who have a passion for their major, a GPA of 3.3 and show good citizenship. The family spoke to the media and said their son handled bullying and condescending remarks throughout his school years, even from teachers, who were not happy about accommodating a student with a severe peanut allergy.
Friends of the family has set up a GoFundMe page to cover the hospital and funeral costs for the unexpected death of a son for one family, who has been touched by a community, both locally and globally.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list 4-6 percent of children in America suffer from a food allergy, many side effects are severe. The agency also implores school districts to implement programs to incorporate foods for students with allergies, and provide guidelines for educators on how to respond in case of an allergic response.
During a school board meeting this past Monday in Clawson, Michigan, board member Linda Grossmann jokingly responded to an inquiry regarding handling children with food allergies. She stated perhaps they should “just shoot them.” The video astounded those in attendance, and the school district released a statement issuing an apology regarding the comment.
The sudden and tragic death of Swink shows food allergies are not a joke, and not something to laugh about. Understanding the risks involved and how to respond is essential to saving the lives of those who struggle daily, and face obstacles with something as simple as choosing a snack.