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Jill Hennessy: end the hospital food negligence risking lives of patients like my daughter

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I never imagined hospital food might risk the lives of sick patients. But that’s what’s happening — with a 13 year old boy tragically dying and my own daughter suffering a reaction with hospitals failing to meet food safety standards for patients with allergies.

Like any parent, I was devastated hearing about Louis Tate – this young boy was recovering from an asthma attack, but he died after being served breakfast ignoring his known allergens.

Shockingly, the government hasn’t bothered to fix the food safety systems in hospitals since his death. My daughter Kaley suffered a reaction last week from the hospital's breakfast, despite warning staff and the allergies being in her record. But she was served a potentially-fatal meal with dairy, eggs or  nuts. Her throat began to close up, and I hate to think of where she would be if I didn’t intervene. Then it happened again at another hospital later in the week.  

Hospitals are meant to help sick patients, not kill them or cause severe health risks. My daughter was almost the next death. The Health Minister must act now to fix hospital food safety and ensure no more patients suffer preventable, damaging allergic reactions.

Hospital kitchens need to provide nut, dairy, egg, gluten and fructose free food for allergy sufferers. There needs to be higher standards for food safety and ensuring hospitals are an allergen-free environment. Just like teachers in schools across Australia, nurses need to be trained to administer epipens.

Please sign my petition now calling on the Health Minister Jill Hennessy to urgently review hospital food safety -- and ensure hospitals are safe for sufferers of life-threatening food allergies.