A heartbroken mum has relived the moment when her nine-year-old daughter was killed by eating just one bite of a pancake, cooked for the youngster as a treat by her dad.
Nainika Tikoo, from Harrow, northwest London, passed away on May 22 this year, after suffering a severe anaphylactic reaction – a rapid onset and potentially lethal allergic response – to the snack.
Her IT consultant dad Vinod, 41, who had just collected his daughter from a horse riding lesson, frantically tried to revive her, dialling 999 and calling her mum Lakshmi, 37.
She rushed home from her job as a political consultant, to find her daughter lying on the floor, turning blue, as she battled for life.
Lakshmi said: “My husband called me and he was howling into the phone, ‘Please come home and save her.’”
“I rushed home and walked into a scene where she was stripped and lying on the floor, almost blue and paramedics were trying desperately to resuscitate her.
“They rushed her to Northwick hospital, northwest London. After trying for an hour, her pulse came back but she had been starved of oxygen and there was a lot of irreversible damage.
“I think at that point, I didn’t understand what that meant. I was thinking paralysis or disability but that she would bounce back eventually. They took her to ICU and told us it wasn’t looking good, but I was still thinking she would be treated and get better.”
Sadly, although she was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, there was nothing more that could be done, as two days after her severe reaction, Nainika was declared brain dead.
On May 25, five days after suffering the reaction, her parents – who have now set up a trust in their daughter’s name – had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn their only child’s life-support machine off.
Nainika had struggled with allergies since she was tiny, but they had never been deemed ‘high risk,’ according to her mum.
Lakshmi said: “For that reason, we had never seen an allergist.
We don’t blame anyone for Nainika’s death, but we do wish that there had been more awareness about allergies and we’re determined to speak out in her name to stop any other families from going through this devastating pain.”
Breastfed from birth, it wasn’t until Nainika was six-months-old that her parents discovered her food allergies.
Her mother explained: “We are of the Hindu faith and at around six months old, we hold a ceremony called an Annaprashana to mark a baby starting to have solid food.
“There is a small ceremony, where you give babies rice milk. Nainika just had a few spoonfuls and it caused a reaction.
“We didn’t know at that point that you could be allergic to dairy, but her whole body started swelling up.”
About 30 minutes after getting home, the couple also noticed a blotchy red rash all over their baby’s body and rushed her to Queen’s Medical Centre hospital in Nottingham, where they were living at the time.
Lakshmi said: “The doctor sat down with us and said that it looked like she had a dairy allergy. We had no idea that there was something like that. They said that the allergy was so severe that she couldn’t be in the same room if you were boiling milk or something like that.”