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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February, 2005, 21:14 GMT
Mother killed by tomato allergy
Raya French
Raya French died after an allergic reaction to raw tomatoes
A mother-of-four died from her reaction to tomatoes in the sauce of a tin of spaghetti bolognese when she opened it, a Kent coroner has ruled.

Raya French, 37, collapsed with anaphylactic shock in the kitchen of her Tankerton home last December.

She was taken to hospital, where she remained for four days, but never regained consciousness.

Ian Goldup, deputy coroner for north east Kent, told her family on Tuesday he was sorry for their traumatic loss.

Breathing difficulties

The inquest heard that her daughter Alexandra, 15, had found her wheezing after she opened the tin.

In a statement read out at Broadstairs Coroners Court, the teenager said: "Mum called me down and asked me what I wanted to go with the jacket potato. I replied, 'spaghetti bolognese'."

Mrs French began preparing dinner for Alexandra, and her three other children, aged 10, six and four, but became unwell within 10 minutes.

Alexandra said she found her mother suffering from breathing difficulties and with hives beginning to appear on her arm.

Anaphylactic shock

Doctors treating her in hospital found she had suffered oxygen deprivation and severe brain damage.

Mrs French began developing an allergy to raw tomatoes three years ago.

Pathologist Dr George Vittay told the inquest that Mrs French had suffered swelling to the throat and chest and blood test results were consistent with anaphylactic shock.

He said: "Having heard about her history of tomato allergy, in my view the cause of death was anaphylaxis from the tomato."

Speaking outside the court, Hazel Gowland, of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, said it was the first death from a tomato allergy she had known about.

Anaphylactic shock
08 Feb 03 |  Medical notes

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