Great Britain

Teen ice hockey star, 14, died after allergic reaction to popcorn at cinema

A TALENTED teen ice hockey star died following an allergic reaction to popcorn at a London cinema, an inquest has heard.

Ruben Bousquet, 14, left his EpiPen at home when he visited the Odeon to watch a film with his parents.

After eating sweet popcorn, he started to feel unwell - and by the time the family got home, he was "pulling at his throat".

Southwark Coroner's Court heard Ruben had regularly visited the same branch of Odeon and had eaten the same brand of sweet popcorn before.

Ruben, a promising player in the London Knightz ice hockey team, was allergic to cows milk, raw egg and soya.

Food allergies ran in the family, the court heard.

He had suffered multiple prior anaphylactic shocks - including in March 2017 which he survived after taking a shot of his EpiPen.

On the day of his death, April 18 2018, Ruben hadn't taken the medication with him.

After the screening began at 8.30pm, the teen began to feel unwell, and his parents decided to take him to the family home in Balham, London to get the EpiPen.

Ruben was breathing and conscious when he got in the car to return home.

However, as the journey continued, he said he had hives on his chest.

His mum Judith Bousquet, an HR manager, said that her son began "pulling at his throat" within minutes of reaching their home.

She said: "As soon as he mentioned he didn't feel well, we said, 'Let's go'.

"At that point there were no signs of great stress.

"When we walked to the car my husband asked how his breathing was.

"He said, 'That's fine, that's fine.'

"But at about two to three minutes from the house he started pulling at his throat.

"He couldn't even talk, I could see he was struggling, struggling with everything.

"His chest was puffed up and swollen."


Once at home Mrs Bousquet administered two shots of his EpiPen.

After the second shot Ruben collapsed and fell unconscious before his mum started CPR.

Ambulance crews arrived soon after and took over the CPR before taking him to Evelina Children's Hospital in central London where he later died.

Ruben was diagnosed as allergic a range of foods when he was just 18 months old.

He also suffered from asthma, conjunctivitis, and eczema, in addition to his food allergies.

Senior coroner Andrew Harris said: "There is a complex matrix of facts and evidence to consider.

"Not all is consistent."

The inquest will take place over three days before the coroner makes a judgement on the cause of Ruben's death.

During the course of the inquest representatives from Odeon Cinemas, the Food Standards Agency, the London Ambulance Service and Royal London Borough of Greenwich are scheduled to give evidence.

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