Published: Sat, November 11, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Grieving Family Says Pre-K Gave Allergic Toddler Grilled Cheese

Grieving Family Says Pre-K Gave Allergic Toddler Grilled Cheese

Seventh Avenue Center for Family Services in Harlem has been shut down following the tragic death of a 3-year-old boy under their care. Elijah then when into anaphylactic shock and later died at the pediatric emergency room at Harlem Hospital Center, according to the GoFundMe page.

The report said an adult at the pre-school had given Elijah Silvera a grilled cheese sandwich last Friday, despite them knowing and documenting that he was severely allergic to dairy.

"It is unclear where responsibility for Elijah's death will fall between the pre-K and the hospital itself", the statement said. "Where, if any, breakdowns may have occurred at either the school or the hospital". Friends are also raising money for a funeral and an independent autopsy. Eyewitness News has reached out to ACS and Health Department officials requesting information on their investigations.

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 almost $20,000 by 325 donors in two days.

Its Manhattan facility was closed for failing to follow its written safety plan and failing to adequately supervise a child, in violation of the health code, the official said. His family says his death was "completely preventable".

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According to the GoFund Me page, a portion of the funds raised will be donated to "FARE" Food Allergy Research & Education, "the largest nonprofit working on behalf of the food allergy community". "The failure to follow long established protocols by both the pre-school and by Harlem Hospital resulted in this monumental loss for the Silvera family". About 40 percent of children with food allergies have experienced a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis. Having a third party medical examination will ensure our ability to get a clear picture.

Elijah's 5-year-old brother Sebastian struggles to understand that his brother is truly gone.

Elijah had just become a student at the school, and his family members had told staff that the boy had a severe allergy to dairy, family members said on a GoFundMe page. In an official statement to CBS New York, officials said they were "closing 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".

The page continued: "We dread the upcoming holiday season without our little boy". "These are our kids' lives and we, as moms, we bring our kids here trusting so I'm very, very sad for the family".

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