epinephrine injection . Via wikimedia commons
epinephrine injection . Via wikimedia commons

A teenage boy testified Monday that he experienced anaphylactic shock after juice from green beans seeped into a sandwich he ate at his school cafeteria in 2012, when he was 12 years old.

“I couldn’t breathe,” 16-year-old Diego Moreno told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury hearing trial of his lawsuit against the Rowland Unified School District. “I was hardly able to talk because I was so scared.”

The teen’s father, Victor Moreno, sued the RUSD in February 2013 on behalf of his son, who suffers from food allergies.

Dominic Quiller, an attorney for the district, has said the boy’s parents did not give school officials a complete list of foods to which their son was allergic.

The allergic reaction about which the teen testified occurred on Feb. 14, 2012, a day when Shelyn Elementary School was serving a special Valentine’s Day cookie that helooked forward to being served.

The boy said he did not touch the green beans that were on his plate because he knew he was allergic to all such foods. He said it took only a short time  for him to know something was wrong after he finished the chicken sandwich on his tray.

“My throat started closing up,” he said. “It felt tight. I started to panic.”

He said he headed toward the school office, but that he had more complications along the way.

“I collapsed a couple times,” he said.

The boy testified that no nurse was there when he arrived. A school worker gave him an antihistamine, but he was unable to swallow it, he said, testifying that his throat continued to feel tight and his tongue itched.

A nurse finally arrived and  gave him an epinephrine injection for the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis, and he felt some relief within a minute or two, he said, but “was still feeling scared to death.”

Diego testified his father and grandmother arrived soon thereafter and that his father took him to a hospital, where doctors gave him an antihistamine that he was able to ingest.

Diego said he missed many days of school. He said he stopped eating solid foods and mainly consumed soup and broth, which caused him to lose about 30 pounds. He said he rarely tries new foods or goes to restaurants where he has not been before because he fears having another allergic reaction.

He said he prefers having his parents present when he eats, including in the courthouse cafeteria during breaks from trial, so they can take action if he has a new attack.

“If I’m alone, I feel a little bit of anxiety,” the teen said.

He said he has had panic attacks since the incident at school four years ago, a problem he did not have previously.

–City News Service 

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