A teenager died after suffering an allergic reaction during a 10-month anniversary meal with her boyfriend at Wagamama.
Alice Brooks collapsed and later died four days after she ordered ginger chicken noodles with tofu at the high street restaurant in Uxbridge in 2014.
The 19-year-old, who suffered from several allergies to foods including nuts, fish and latex, had been eating with her boyfriend Michael Jeffries when she became ill.
After leaving the restaurant, Alice went into anaphylactic shock and collapsed, with doctors later discovering that she had suffered a ‘catastrophic brain injury’.
Alice’s family decided to turn off her life support in the early hours of November 29, 2014.
Alice Brooks (with boyfriend Michael Jeffries) collapsed and later died four days after she ordered ginger chicken noodles with tofu at the high street restaurant in Uxbridge in 2014
At an inquest into her death, her mother, Suzanne Wilby described how her daughter previously suffered a reaction after sipping a bottle of Coca Cola belonging to someone who had eaten a snickers bar several hours earlier.
As a child she also suffered heavy breathing when someone sat close to her ate a bag of nuts and one day she was sent home from working in a bakery when she had a severe reaction to a colleague baking a walnut cake.
Boyfriend Michael Jeffries told West London Coroners Court how he and Alice visited the popular shopping centre to celebrate their anniversary on November 25, 2014.
He said: ‘Whenever we went for food she would ask about nuts and look at the allergy charts.
‘The waitress came over and asked what we wanted and Alice asked if there were nuts in the dish she wanted.
‘The manager then came over with the allergy chart and confirmed nothing on it was in the food. Alice made sure it didn’t contain nuts but she asked to double check.’
Mr Jeffries continued: ‘We finished the food, and went out and we carried on to do more Christmas shopping.
‘We were walking into The Pavilions when she started to feel unwell so we decided to walk back to the car.
‘She used her inhaler which leveled her breathing out, but only for a bit and then it was getting worse and worse every time. I’d never seen her breathing so bad.
Michael Jeffries told West London Coroners Court how he and Alice visited the popular shopping centre to celebrate their anniversary on November 25, 2014
‘She said her throat was frozen up and her breathing was really bad at that point, her lips started turning blue and that was when she had an anaphylactic shock – in the driver’s seat.
‘She got her epipen out but she passed out before she could use it. She told me to get it from her bag, I took it and put it in her right thigh.’
Within minutes of calling 999, a solo vehicle arrived at the scene and medical technician Stephen Hale gave Alice life support after she suffered a cardiac arrest.
Mr Hale told the inquest: ‘I remember finding Alice lying between parked cars surrounded by inhalers, I can’t remember how many but certainly more than one.
Alice’s family decided to turn off her life support on November 29, 2014
‘Her boyfriend said he used an epipen and she had a reaction after they ate at Wagamama.
‘Within one minute of me arriving she went into cardiac arrest and I gave basic life support with decompressions and mask and air.’
The inquest also heard how two paramedics rushed up the car park stairs with equipment because the ambulance struggled to drive into the building, due to height restrictions, and there was around a 10 minute delay in transporting Alice into the ambulance due to this.
Following the incident, Detective Sergeant John Hine visited Wagamama in Uxbridge high street to obtain CCTV footage and question members of staff.
Giving evidence, he said: ‘I attended the restaurant. The purpose was to secure CCTV and speak to the waitress, manager and chef.
‘They confirmed that the couple came in and ordered, requesting no-nut dishes. They explained to me that Miss Brooks had mentioned the nut allergy and the order was supervised by the manager.
‘Wagamama has a protocol when serving people with allergies and they presented to me as very competent and they certainly considered people coming in with allergies.’
Statements provided by the restaurant’s manager, waitress and senior sous chef supported the view that a rigorous protocol was carried out on the day Alice and her boyfriend ordered their meals.
‘It’s policy that the manager must take the order if there is allergies,’ the waitress stated.
After leaving the restaurant (pictured), Alice went into anaphylactic shock and collapsed, with doctors later discovering that she had suffered a ‘catastrophic brain injury’
Meanwhile the manager confirmed she went through the allergy chart with Alice before she ordered the meal and highlighted the allergy to the chef, who stated he cleaned the hob and kitchen utensils before cooking the nut-free dish.
The specific medical state which led to Alice’s collapse in the shopping centre car park that autumn afternoon remains disputed between an asthma attack, anaphylaxis or bronchospasm.
While first responders were called to a suspected anaphylactic shock, Doctor Sergei Vaganov of Hillingdon Hospital told the court he believed that Alice suffered a bronchospasm.
This opinion was supported by Doctor Andrew Jones from St Thomas’ Hospital which was where Alice was transferred to and spent her remaining days.
In a written statement read in court, he described that Alice suffered a ‘catastrophic brain injury’ and had a ‘complete absence of brain function’.
He added his opinion was that the teenager suffered a ‘severe bronchospasm in the context of an allergic reaction’.
Alice’s family decided to relieve her from life support in the early hours of November 29.
The inquest continues.