Camron Jean-Pierre’s family knew he was allergic to fish and tried their best to keep him away from it.
As WABC News reports, the 11-year-old boy from Piscataway, New Jersey had gone to New York City to visit his grandparents and wish them a happy New Year.
Camron and his father, Steven, walked into the house just as his grandmother and aunt began making a Caribbean dish known as salt fish. Camron’s mother told WABC that there had been some confusion and the family thought that Camron had left. That’s why they began cooking the fish as he returned:
“They thought that he left, because when his dad left, they thought he left with his dad. I guess they forgot something at the house and went back, and he went in the house and then he inhaled the fish. When he inhaled the fish, I guess that triggered off an asthma attack, and he couldn’t breathe. His lungs tightened up, and his dad attempted to give him the nebulizer machine.”
Because he suffered from asthma, Camron never went anywhere without a nebulizer. Unfortunately, the nebulizer didn’t appear to be working and the boy struggled to breathe. Steven told the New York Daily News:
“I don’t know, for some reason he was saying it wasn’t working. He kept telling me, ‘I’m not able to breathe.'”
Steven called 911 and began trying to give his son CPR while they waited for paramedics to arrive. He told the Daily News:
“I tried to give him the CPR and he came back but I wish I knew [how] to keep pumping him because he woke up and I felt his heart and everything. But I stopped and sat him up to make him feel better.”
Steven told WABC that Camron’s last words were an attempt to comfort and calm his distraught father:
“My son’s last words were, ‘Daddy I love you. Daddy I love you.’ He gave me two kisses, two kisses on my face. He said, ‘I feel like I’m dying.’ I said, ‘Don’t say that. What are you talking about? Don’t say that.'”
Paramedics tried to revive Camron, but the boy was pronounced dead at the hospital. Authorities are now investigating how the smell of cooking fish triggered such a bad allergic reaction.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), cooking fish can release proteins into the air that may cause an allergic reaction. In addition, fish allergies often cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that sends the body into shock and impairs breathing.
The ACAAI warns that anaphylactic reactions can occur suddenly and progress very quickly. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, hives, hoarseness, tightness of the throat, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fainting, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and cardiac arrest.
Those at risk for a severe reaction should carry an epinephrine pen and seek emergency treatment if there are any signs of anaphylaxis.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses. Steven told the Daily News that he is still in shock over the loss of his son:
“We knew he had an allergy … but usually, he don’t get nothing that severe like that. He don’t eat fish. We don’t put it around him. It just so happens they was cooking it when we came in. That was my prince, man. He was my everything. Everything.”