A father remembers the horror of watching his teenage son collapse after suffering an allergic reaction when eating a Subway biscuit.

Jack Irvine, 15,  suffered from serious nut allergies and asthma. He suffered an anaphylactic shock after eating a biscuit while on a go-karting camp at Oakleigh. His father, Robert Irvine, watched on, helpless.

7 NEWS reports, he ate a biscuit containing macadamia nuts, he thought it was just a white chocolate chip cookie.

“He came up to me and he says, ‘oh dad I think you better get me an ambulance’. And I said, ‘what’s wrong bud?’ And he said, ‘my asthma’s playing up’,” Mr Irvine said.

Jack was in the care of the Victorian Karting Association on a youth camp in 2012, which didn’t allow kids to take their own food, reports 7 News.

Jack’s mum Julie had warned camp organisers in writing about his allergy, but coroner Audrey Jamieson found the Victorian Karting Association failed to protect the teen in the way they handled that information, ordered the food and managed first aid.

“His lips started going black and I could see him really gasping for air. And at this stage I still considered it to be an asthma attack,” Mr Irvine recalled.

“He looked up at me like this and he said, ‘dad, I’m dying’. I gave him the greatest hug in the world and I said, ‘buddy, I won’t let you die’.

“A father trying to resuscitate your own child is one of the most chilling things you could do.”

Six days after biting into the cookie, Jack tragically passed away in hospital.

Barrie Woollacott from law firm Slater and Gordon said the teen’s death could have been avoided.

“It is a deadly condition and we need to respect it because it takes lives when that should not happen and as the coroner said this was a preventable death,” he told 7 News.

The family are suing Subway, the franchisee and the Victorian Karting Association for damages in the Supreme Court.

Share your comments below.

Image via 7 NEWS

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  • How awful. I feel for this family – no parent wants to see their child pass away and be helpless to stop it. And to think, it could have been avoided!


  • Just devastating. I can’t imagine the fear that went through the boys head knowing he was in trouble :-( breaks my heart


  • That’s a vision no parent would ever forget-RIP Jack


  • What a tragic end to such a young boy :-(
    They say there is no greater pain, than that of losing your own child.


  • Oh that is so sad I can’t even imagine the helplessness the the boy and his father felt.


  • This is such a terrible tragedy and I do so wish it had a better outcome.


  • I dont mean to be harsh but Im not fully understanding how this could in any way be Subways fault. If Jack ate a biscuit because he thought it was white chocolate and it turned out it wasnt then how is that subways fault? Unless they clearly marked it “White Chocolate” and it clearly said “Does not contain nuts”
    Why didnt Jack have an Epi pen with him? Children with such allergies should carry an epipen with them at all times.

    its a horrible situation and an awful thing to have to deal with but I dont think its fair to lay any blame at the feet of Subway.


  • What a horrible thing to happen. The father will never forget that. Sounds like the boy was a lovely, polite and wonderful person. RIP.


  • Such a tragic and sad loss for the family.


  • what a horrific thing for his father to watch. My condolences go out to his family.
    The youth camp who did not allow them to bring their own foods and failed to ensure the foods were safe for him after his mother’s letter of concern before the camp is inexcusable and his death could easily been avoided. Such a waste of life.


  • Sorry but I do find this a little strange…why was a epi-pen not used?
    Any how it’s really sad and heart breaking and my condolences to the family.
    RIP Jack.


  • Such a tragedy. Heartbreaking for any parent to experience.


  • Can not see how Subway is to blame as they do have signs letting people know. The boy should have had a epic pen or his father should have, In cases of allergies organizations must be prepared to look after those in their care. My oldest son when he went on camp in year five took his own condiments (tomato sauce ,mustard and jam) so I knew he was safe and they had no trouble. Yes at 15 he should know to ask about his food.


  • An utterly devastating story. I had to do CPR on my own child, sadly also unsuccessfully, but he was not relivable, as it was not an airway or heart issue. I’m not sure how either facility was at fault though. The boy was old enough to ask questions on what he was eating and by the sounds of it, his father was there with him. So why didn’t he notice or double check what was being served. I know when someone you love dies tragically you want to find someone or something to blame, but I don’t know that the lawsuit will go their way. People without an allergy just will not understand just how vigilant someone with an allergy has to be. If I was the mother of a severely allergic child, I wouldn’t careless what a businesses rules were, my child would have had their own prepared lunch with my direct instructions that he was to not eat anything else due to the chance of contamination by someone else, risking death.


  • this is horrendous! words cannot explain how the boys father would have felt watching your child suffer/react in that way. so sad!


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