New York City officials are investigating the death of a toddler whose family said had an allergic reaction to the grilled cheese sandwich a preschool employer allegedly fed him last week.
Elijah, 3, was at the Seventh Avenue Center for Family Services in Harlem Nov. 3 when a supervising adult allegedly gave him a grilled cheese sandwich, “despite them knowing and having documented that he has a severe allergy to dairy,” according to a page set up on crowdfunding site GoFundMe, which is said to be organized by “close family members” of Elijah’s parents.
The New York City Fire Department confirmed there was no 911 call from the preschool during the time of the boy’s emergency. Instead, the school called Elijah’s mother, who took him to the hospital, the family said.
The facility has been shuttered and an investigation into the boy’s death is ongoing, Christopher Miller, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told ABC News today.
“There is nothing more important than the safety of our children and we are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” Miller said in an emailed statement. “We will get to the bottom of what happened here. In the meantime, we closed the Center for Family Services and continuing to aggressively investigate what happened and whether the facility could have done something differently to prevent this tragedy.”
Elijah went into “anaphylactic shock” and was rushed to the pediatric emergency room at Harlem Hospital Center where he died, according to the GoFundMe page posted Tuesday.
The boy is survived by his “heartbroken mother, Dina, father, Thomas, and his 5-year-old brother, Sebastian,” according to the page, which has raised nearly $20,000 by 325 donors in two days.
The money will help alleviate funeral and medical expenses, pay for family therapy and cover the cost of a “second and independent autopsy,” the page says.
“Right now, our family is immersed in our grief, but we are also facing an overwhelming list of financial and practical matters, all related to Elijah’s untimely death,” the family members wrote on the page.
“We want to find out exactly what caused Elijah’s death and that will mean sorting out exactly where, if any, breakdowns may have occurred at either the school or the hospital. Having a third-party medical examination will ensure our ability to get a clear picture. We just want justice for Elijah.”
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SOURCE: ABC News, Morgan Winsor