Parents of boy who died after eating grilled cheese sandwich sues daycare for $10M

Elijah Silvera thegrio.com
Little Elijah Silvera past away because of an ellergic reaction to a grilled cheese sandwich he ate in school.(Photo: Silvera family)

The father of a New York City boy with food allergies who died in November 2017 after eating a grilled cheese sandwich has filed a $10 million lawsuit against his son’s preschool.

Thomas Silvera said in a suit filed Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court that staff at the now- closed Seventh Avenue for Family Services were aware of his 3-year-old son Elijah Silvera’s condition.

Yet, the day care center still fed the boy the sandwich that caused his fatal allergic reaction in November, the suit says. The document said the center was “grossly negligent in causing infant decedent’s severe asthma attack and/or allergic reaction by providing, feeding or allowing him to be fed or obtain a known allergen from his list of known dangerous foods.”

The suit mentions that the center’s staff also didn’t call 911, or use an EpiPen. Instead, they chose to call the boy’s mother who rushed him to a hospital in Harlem, where he died. 

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Starting Point Services for Children, which ran the preschool, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, according to the New York Daily News and the New York Post.

Also being sued is Shermin Ali, one of the boy’s caretakers. The suit claims the preschool didn’t properly advise Ali about the boy’s allergies. Ali declined to comment about the lawsuit, the Daily News reported.

A GoFundMe page set up shortly after Elijah’s death has raised more than $63,000, far exceeding an initial goal of $18,000. 

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And the boy’s death prompted New York City officials to amend its health code, which now requires nearly 3,000 city-regulated child care sites to each have two epinephrine auto-injectors on site. The amendment also requires at least one child care staff member be trained recognizing allergy symptoms, how to inject an epinephrine and what to do in an emergency.  

In a statement shortly after his son’s death, Silveria spoke of plans to ensure Elijah’s death was not made in vain. 

“We are moved to tears to know that we are not alone, both in our heartbreak and in our concern for safety around allergies in schools,” he wrote. “We also want to say that while we remain absolutely devastated over the loss of our sweet son Elijah, the outpouring of love from across the country has inspired us to ensure that his death did not happen in vain. As Elijah’s parents, we will use our voices to draw attention to completely preventable life-threatening allergic reactions in U.S. daycares and schools. These preventable tragedies must come to an end.”