After the unfortunate death of a 3-year-old, who had an extreme dairy allergy, a preschool in Harlem has been closed by the Health Department.
Elijah Silvera was attended Seventh Avenue Center for Family last Friday when a fatal error was made when the child was given a grilled cheese sandwich, reported CBS New York. According to Elijah’s family, the school was aware of he was allergic to dairy.
On a GoFundMe page created by a family member, the tragic events surrounding Elijah’s death were detailed.
“He was given a grilled cheese sandwich by an adult at the pre-k, despite them knowing and having documented that he has a severe allergy to dairy,” the GoFundMe page said. “Elijah went into anaphylactic shock and was taken to the Pediatric ER at Harlem Hospital, where, tragically, they were unable to save him.”
A relative spoke with CBS2 about Elijah and his bright personality.
“He was just a light — if you see him, he’s just a bright light,” Ruben Porras told the news station. “He’s one of those kids that… he was one of those kids that when you walk in the room and saw him you just light up.”
On Wednesday night, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced 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.”
Health officials told CBS2 it appears the school failed to follow a written safety plan and failed to supervise a child adequately.
Earlier Wednesday, the school said it was conducting its own investigation. The Administration for Children’s Services will have representatives at the school on Thursday to help parents find alternative care for their children.
The family raised over $23,000 for funeral services and medical costs. Elijah’s family is also seeking a second autopsy to determine if he died from the sandwich alone or hospital error.
“It is unclear where responsibility for Elijah’s death will fall between the pre-k and the hospital itself. There are protocols that both the hospital and preschool must follow. We want to find out exactly what caused Elijah’s death and that will mean sorting out exactly where, if any, breakdowns may have occurred at either the school or the hospital. Having a third party medical examination will ensure our ability to get a clear picture. We just want justice for Elijah,” reads the GoFundMe page.
(Photo: Liz Murray via GoFundMe)