Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps
Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A 60-year-old Singaporean woman who knew she had shellfish  allergies died of anaphylaxis after eating prawns at home in March, a case the state coroner concluded was a “truly unfortunate misadventure”.

Khoo Siew Hong, who used a wheelchair, lived with her sister and two domestic workers in an apartment in the city’s Geylang area, The Straits Times reported on Tuesday.

On March 4, the four of them visited Shin Yeh Restaurant in Liang Court shopping mall for lunch. Khoo ate some prawn dumplings, and no allergic reactions were noted.

In the afternoon of March 8, Khoo insisted that her domestic helpers should add prawns to a serving of laksa they were making, and she asked them to allow her to eat two of the prawns, according to Shin Min Daily News. They obliged.

Khoo started to feel unwell two and a half hours later. One of the maids gave her an antihistamine tablet, which had previously been prescribed by a hospital in case of an allergic reaction.

In spite of the medication, however, Khoo developed a worsening rash and swelling on her face.

Khoo complained of breathlessness after 20 minutes and then lost consciousness. Her maid performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on her while waiting for emergency services.

At 3:40pm, paramedics arrived and took the patient to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at around 9:50pm after being taken off a ventilator.

Khoo died of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that was triggered by prawns in her case, according to a forensic pathologist.

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