Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Past History Does Not Predict Future Performance

You see that phrase quite a bit if you've ever researched stocks or mutual funds. While past performance can be indicative of the future, contexts change, circumstances change, so the investor must be careful not to rely solely upon that one factor when judging an investment.

Unfortunately, the phrase is sadly applicable to those dealing with food allergies. If there is a lesson to be learned from this interview with Pamela, Andrew's mom, it's that a food-allergic individual must be prepared for the absolute worst at all times. A few hives here, a few hives there--that may be all there is and if so, then be glad for it. But you never know when (or why, sometimes) full-blown anaphylaxis will hit.

I am so, so sorry for their loss. It is every food allergy parent's worst nightmare. She is very courageous to share her story, to remind those of us in her position, or even those who want to believe we're all making a huge fuss over next-to-nothing, to be forewarned and forearmed. We've been lucky--all of Ryan's accidental exposures resulted in localized hives. I'm taking this opportunity to remind myself that that may not be the case in the future.


piscesgrrl said...

I'm not sure I can read her story. Just reading this makes my heart hurt.

Anonymous said...

What an incredibly moving and horrible story. I am so sorry for their loss and so thankful that she chose to share this.

Thank you for sharing.


Monica said...

Wow. How terribly sad.

I don't want to harp on this point when a child has just died, but how could a doctor *possibly* diagnose a peanut allergy and not tell the parents: This. Could. Be. Fatal. ?
In my opinion, this is some serious negligence if not malpractice. Yet another story that makes me wonder what these freaking doctors are smoking!

OK. Done now.

Ben said...

This is a sad tale.

But the lesson to be learned is not just "that a food-allergic individual must be prepared for the absolute worst at all times".

The real lesson here is about personal responsibility.

It is true that this mom was not given all the facts by her son's doctors. But this mother did nothing more than the doctor and/or nurses told her. She did not look further into food allergies and especially peanut allergies. She did not do research on epi-pens. She did not do anything to get another epi-pen when the previous one expired. She just did what she was told by the doctors... and nothing more.

A Google search for "peanut allergy" has this sentence in the first results: "Peanut allergy can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction."

A Google search for epi-pen takes you right to where a graphic title reads: "In a life- threatening allergic reaction every second counts."

2 Google searches later and I now know that peanut allergies can be life-threatening and that an epi-pen can help in such a situation.

This woman’s son is dead and the health professionals played a big part. But, this woman failed to be “forewarned and forearmed” as Jenn said. She failed to even do something as simple as a Google search.

Monica said...

You're right, Ben. I've learned the hard way that doctors should be treated as consultants -- not all knowing gods who must be feared and trusted at all costs. Unfortunately, many people treat them that way.