Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

A 12-year-old boy died at the hospital after suffering from an allergic reaction to his family’s Christmas dinner that contained nuts, an investigation has heard.

Cason Hallwood, from Winsford, had been playing with friends when he started having trouble breathing and collapsed at the Wharton Recreation Ground – hours after he had Christmas dinner with his mother, three brothers and his grandparents last year.

Despite the schoolboy’s mother Louise, who ran to the park to administer an EpiPen, as well as the efforts of paramedics and doctors, Cason, who suffered from asthma and had a nut allergy, went in respiratory and then cardiac arrest.

He was taken to Leighton Hospital in Crewe, but died shortly afterwards.

An investigation into Cason’s death at Warrington Coroner’s Court, sitting in Parr Hall due to Covid-19 restrictions, Today heard that his grandfather, who made the meal, had forgotten his allergy, and the icing used on the family gammon contained nuts.

Cason Hallwood, 12, of Winsford, died on Christmas Day last year after suffering an allergic reaction

Cason Hallwood, 12, of Winsford, died on Christmas Day last year after suffering an allergic reaction

Cason’s mother presented evidence at the trial to senior Cheshire associate professor Alan Moore, saying the family had sat down to eat dinner around 6 p.m. 14.25, before her son went to the park with his friends.

She said: ‘He was a bit of a livewire Cason, he did not want to sit and watch TV. He asked if he could go to the park with his comrades. I said ” call me if you need me ” and with that he was gone

‘About 20 minutes later my phone rang and Cason asked if I could send one of the boys with the inhalers. I did not panic at this point and one of the twins said they would ride Cason’s bike.

‘He was back in about 10 minutes and he said he seemed fine. My phone rang again and this time I could tell that the inhalers had not worked. ‘

The schoolgirl’s mother described how she then ran to the park with the EpiPen they had in Cason’s grandparents’ house, which she said was obsolete.

‘I could immediately see that he had had something because his eyes were swollen. The EpiPen I was wearing was outdated. The one at my house was on a date, but the one at my mom and dad was not, she said.

‘I was on the phone to the ambulance asking for permission to give it to him because it was obsolete. I gave him the shot and it made no difference. ‘

Louise described how she was ‘in a panic’ when the ambulance showed up and said there was a few minutes of confusion as the vehicle went to one entrance and then to another before coming to Cason and transferring him to the ambulance.

Cason (second right) had eaten Christmas dinner with his mother Louise and three brothers (all pictured) before heading out to play with his friends at the Wharton Recreation Ground in Cheshire

Cason (second right) had eaten Christmas dinner with his mother Louise and three brothers (all pictured) before heading out to play with his friends at the Wharton Recreation Ground in Cheshire

In January this year, hundreds of mourners took to the streets at the schoolboy's funeral

In January this year, hundreds of mourners took to the streets at the schoolboy’s funeral

Mourners respected as the schoolboy's coffin was taken through the streets by a white horse-drawn carriage

Mourners respected as the schoolboy’s coffin was taken through the streets by a white horse-drawn carriage

She continued: ‘Cason said’ ‘I can not breathe, I’m going to fail’ ‘and I screamed’ ‘help him’ ‘. I then got out of the back of the ambulance, I do not know why, I just could not anymore. ‘

Cason was driven to Leighton Hospital, where Louise and her mother Helen traveled there in the other ambulance.

“We were just put in a family room when we got there, and within minutes they said they were still working on him, but it didn’t look good,” Louise said.

‘They said that if there are no signs of life, I should go and say goodbye. I just could not stand it, but they told me that no one should die alone.

‘At this point I was in shock and did not know what was going on. They took me to resus and I saw them work on him. I knew then that he was gone. ‘

In a written statement read by My Moore, Cason’s grandfather Albert said: ‘My wife and I had invited Louise and our grandchildren, including Cason, over to the house for Christmas dinner. Other family was also there.

Hundreds of people paid tribute to the schoolboy after he had an allergic reaction and died last year

Hundreds of people paid tribute to the schoolboy after he had an allergic reaction and died last year

‘I made Christmas lunch and had cooked the night before – a beef and a gammon joint. I had completely forgotten Cason’s nut allergy.

‘We made the meal and at 2pm the whole family enjoyed our time around the table. I remember Cason licking his plate clean and saying ” Grandpa, that was nice ”.

‘Cason went out to play with his comrades. About 45 minutes to an hour later, I was told by my wife Helen that Cason was in the park and could not breathe properly.

‘Helen asked me what I had done with the food. It was at this point that I realized that the gammon glaze I was using had nuts in it. I had completely forgotten all about the nut in it.

‘I told my wife that the icing had nuts in. My heart sank when I realized this and I was just worried about Cason. As a family, we are completely shattered. Life will never be the same again. ‘

During the investigation became the family questioned the time it took paramedics to get to the scene and why the ambulance had gone from one entrance to the other before entering the park to treat Cason.

The 999 call was received at 15.18, when the ambulance arrived at the park at 15.33.

Alan Jeeves, a paramedic at the North West Ambulance Service, said: ‘We were on our way when the satnav that led us was in a position where it was not the right entrance to the park.

‘When we arrived at the scene, a young man with a bicycle came to the ambulance and told us there was another entrance. So me and the other doctor came back in the ambulance and we were directed to another entrance to where Cason was. ‘

Asked how much time the confusion had cost them, Mr Jeeves said: ‘No longer than four or five minutes.’

He said that when they tried to treat Cason, he had become ‘combative’ and was in a ‘state of panic’, which Mr Jeeves put down on hypoxia – lack of oxygen to the body, which can cause patients to act irrationally due to of effect on the brain.

Paramedics treated Cason on the spot until 4:27 p.m., when they took him to Leighton and arrived at the hospital at 4:39 p.m.

The study heard that Cason had been on several treatments for his asthma and had required more visits to the doctor by 2020.

His nut allergy was first diagnosed more than ten years ago and his mother Louise said she never had any nuts ‘of any description’ in the house.

It was established during the investigation that the obsolete EpiPen used at Cason in the park would not have caused him any harm but may have had a weaker effect.

An autopsy concluded that Cason died from anaphylactic fatal asthma caused by eating peanuts, with bilateral pneumothorax (collapsed lungs) as a contributing factor.

Moore concluded that Cason died as a result of an accident, adding: ‘I remember this case. I was the assistant on Christmas Day when I took a number of calls. In that sense, I can connect you if I can put it that way.

‘That day my heart really went out to you. I could not even imagine what you went through as a family.

‘This is a heartbreaking story. I can only say that as a family you have shown, not just today, but all the way since last Christmas, courage and dignity on a scale I have never seen before. ‘

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