Schoolboy, 13, died after reaction to cheese when he was chased and it was thrown down his t-shirt, inquest hears

John Dunne
"Amazing student": Karanbir Cheema

A schoolboy died from the effects of a suspected allergic reaction after allegedly being chased and having cheese thrown down his T-shirt, an inquest heard today.

Karanbir Cheema, 13, was “gasping for air” when emergency crews arrived at William Perkin CofE High School in Greenford.

Kieran Oppatt, the first paramedic to arrive at the scene on June 28 last year, today told St Pancras coroner’s court that the unconscious teenager’s condition deteriorated dramatically.

He said: “I was told perhaps someone had chased the patient with a piece of cheese and proceeded to throw it down his T-shirt.

“He had an allergic reaction, his skin was itchy and hot and he had difficulty breathing.”

Karanbir Cheema with mother Rina. An inquest heard paramedics treated him at school in Greenford

Mr Oppatt said that despite being treated with Piriton, an inhaler and a special pen used for injection in response to anaphylactic shock, the child continued to struggle.

“He appeared to be in a state of pre-arrest, he had very slow respirations, he was gasping for air. He appeared to be suffering from an allergic reaction,” Mr Oppatt said. At one stage he tried to call for an advanced paramedic to join him but was unable to obtain a radio signal in the school. He went outside to the ambulance to call.

His colleague arrived as he was giving a second dose of adrenaline. Mr Oppatt said: “In total I administered three doses of adrenaline. The patient was not at any time conscious.”

He told the inquest, in front of senior coroner Mary Hassell: “I thought it would be a mild case but when I arrived I realised it was life-threatening and the patient had a high risk of going into cardiac arrest.”

When Karanbir did go into cardiac arrest, he said: “I began chest compressions and I asked a member of school staff to continue.” The boy was taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where died 10 days later.

His mother Rina, an accountant and father Amarjeet, an administrator, were in court for today’s hearing.

Rina today described him as "an amazing, intelligent child" who would have gone on to great things.

The accountant, 42, said: "As a mother I am devastated. He was so bright. He could have been anything he wanted.

"He was allergic to wheat, gluten and dairy but knew how to manage his condition. We want answers to how this happened."

Mrs Cheema said that she would be campaigning for more awareness of the life threatening nature of anaphylactic shock.

The inquest continues.