Heartbroken family sues after 11-year-old girl dies from allergic reaction to pizza at Texas school

The family of Emerson Kate Cole family says plan required school employees to give Cole epinephrine, call 911 and notify her parents if she had a reaction

Alex Lang
Thursday 06 June 2024 00:22 BST
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Emerson Kate Cole, 11, died after an allergic reaction at her Texas school. Now, her family is suing saying educators didn’t follow her treatment plan.
Emerson Kate Cole, 11, died after an allergic reaction at her Texas school. Now, her family is suing saying educators didn’t follow her treatment plan. (Cole Land Scape/Facebook)

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An 11-year-old girl died after having an allergic reaction to a bite of pizza at her school and now her family has filed a lawsuit over her passing.

Emerson Kate Cole was a student in the Amarillo Independent School District in Texas. The child had a 504 plan with the district - a guide for educators about how to respond if she had an allergic reaction. In her case, Cole was allergic to dairy products.

Her family says the plan required school employees to give Cole epinephrine, call 911, and notify her parents if she had a reaction, according to WSBT.

In January 2023, Cole was eating lunch at de Zavala Middle School when she took a bite of pizza and started to have a reaction.

She went to the nurse’s office, and the nurse wasn’t there. Another school member called Cole’s mother and asked if she could give her Benadryl, to which the mom agreed, according to McClatchy News. The 11-year-old threw up the medicine and was given a breathing treatment.

Emerson Kate Cole, 11, died after an allergic reaction at her Texas school. Now, her family is suing saying educators didn’t follow her treatment plan.
Emerson Kate Cole, 11, died after an allergic reaction at her Texas school. Now, her family is suing saying educators didn’t follow her treatment plan. (Cole Land Scape/Facebook)

When Cole’s grandmother arrived at the school, the child collapsed, WSBT stated. The worried relative gave Cole CPR until paramedics arrived and rushed her to the hospital. Her heartbroken dad posted on Facebook after the tragedy and asked for prayers.

“I’ve been told there’s a slight chance she will make it,” he wrote in January 2023. “I am literally dying inside. I can’t lose her.”

Sadly, Cole died two days later at the hospital.

“There is nothing anyone can say or do to make this hurt and pain go away… Emerson Kate Cole, I’ll NEVER STOP LOVING YOU,” the dad wrote after Cole’s passing.

The family recently filed a lawsuit that asks for an unspecified amount of money claiming the district did not follow the 504 plan. The family also included a statement from Dr Marc Serota who said with proper care, the child would not have died, according to WSBT.

“Had she received prompt administration of epinephrine when she initially presented with her symptoms, (Cole) would, more likely than not, be with us today,’ Serota noted.

Amarillo school district officials told WSBT they can’t comment on pending litigation. The Independent has reached out to the district about the lawsuit.

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