Teenage boy died in a Victorian hospital after an allergic reaction to a mouthful of hospital food, despite staff knowing his allergies.

Louis Tate, 13, was admitted to Frankston Hospital on October 22, 2015 following an asthma attack and died the next day after an anaphylactic reaction to the hospital’s breakfast food, reports 7 news.

“I thought because he was in hospital, the medical staff would know exactly how to take care of him,” mum Gabrielle Catan told Tuesday’s opening of an inquest into Louis’s death.

Louis was severely allergic to milk, nuts and eggs, and carried an EpiPen to treat allergic reactions wherever he went, reports ABC news.

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The circumstances of his death are being investigated in the Coroners Court of Victoria.

louis tate

His mother, Gabrielle Catan, told the inquest that she alerted hospital staff to her son’s allergies and told them he should have Weetbix and soy milk for breakfast.

Speaking outside court, his father, Simon Tate, said the family was still looking for answers.

“We continue to struggle every day with the emptiness, loss and circumstances surrounding his death,” he said.

“We strongly believe Louis’ death never should have happened. He was in hospital, at a place where he should have been safe.

“Yet despite us providing clear and concise communications about his food allergies, he died.

“Our hope is that this inquest not only provides us with the many answers we need and deserve, but that it closely examines food safety and anaphylaxis management protocols at Frankston Hospital.”

More details to come…

What can you do?

If your child suffers a severe allergy ensure anyone that cares for your child has a clear understanding of allergens and that they are trained if necessary to handle emergencies.

Regularly check that they have the correct medicine on hand and that it is not out of date.

If you feel it is necessary send a note home to parents in your child’s class to make them aware of how severe your child’s allergy is and what they can do to help keep him safe at school.

In June we shared that Children with allergies are either being tricked or forced into eating food they can’t tolerate by school bullies. Read more HERE.

Share your comments below.

  • This case is horrific, especially when the parents warned the hospital of the boy’s allergies. Should never have happened. My thoughts are with this poor family.


  • The hospital is responsible for this horrific accident that should never have occurred it seems.


  • This was a few years and still not resolved. I can’t believe how long it takes. Being a large hospital they should have more stringent protocols in place like special tag on patients arm band, notice above the bed and urgent notice sent to kitchen. Hope Simon’s parents get closure soon.


  • It can be well over 12 months before the Coroner’s report is read in court. I know a man whose job that was. I also know of a case of the widow of a guy I worked with. That case was about 18 months before the report was read in the Coroner’s Court. She also passed away in hospital because of a msitake during treatment. The first nurse who saw him should have put a special “label” on his wrist and his menu should have been marked. I reckon they should also put a Allergy notice either above the head of the bed, on the door if it is a private room, or a larger one attached to the rail at the foot of the bed.


  • Oh, I realize just now that this happened 2 years ago


  • Wow that is horrible! Things like this just shouldn’t happen! And even if they did happen, you would think that they would have everything that they need to treat an allergic reaction. Severe case of malpractice!


  • This was such a tragic story and such a huge mistake on the hospital’s part. I cannot believe this is still not resolved for the family 2 years later. How can they move on? Someone does need to be held accountable.


  • A huge mistake by the hospital staff, this shouldn’t have happened ! Indeed, you would expect to be safe with an allergy in the hospital.


  • The child should have been wearing a red wrist band alerting staff to his allergies. That’s what Victorian hospitals do.
    Someone made a big mistake.
    May he Rip
    My thoughts are with his family


  • I just reread this and noticed it happened over 2 years ago, why is it only now we here about it?

    • Investigations and court cases can take a long long time.


  • So very tragic and sad. How can they make such a grave mistake. They mention after he ate breakfast food, was it not checked before hand, was it cross contaminated? More needs to be found out, an urgent investigation must be made.


  • My heart goes out to this family. While at a hospital receiving asthma treatment you should be at the lowest possible risk for triggering your anaphylaxis. And if it is triggered it should be able to be treated immediately. Something went very wrong here somewhere and its just the worst possible outcome.


  • I would like a little more information on this story ..like what did they actually give him for breakfast ? I am assuming that at the age of 13 he would not eat eggs if given them but did they give him milk or some other food containing nuts ..its a bit of a mystery for me when I read this. But all said and done this mum alerted the hospital and staff of his allergies so this terrible tragedy should never have happened. RIP Louis.


  • she told them what he should have for breakfast but then was the boy responsible for his own menu selections? This is a terrible tragedy, I hope there is some answers and comfort for all who loved him soon.


  • I hope the investigation provides some much needed answers for this family. The hospital have made a grave error.


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