A NINE year-old schoolgirl who died at a Spanish holiday resort, was killed by an allergic reaction after just ‘one lick’ of an ice cream.
An inquest heard yesterday that one lick was enough to be lethal for the schoolgirl who was on a trip to Malaga with her parents and siblings during a half-term break.
Habiba Chishti, from Halifax, died just hours after arriving on the Costa del Sol in February 2019.
An inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard how the youngster was rushed to Malaga Hospital after suddenly collapsing at the Club La Costa World resort.
Her devastated father Dr Wajid Azam Chishti told the court he had bought her an ice cream with some chocolate sauce that afternoon.
He added that he had asked three times if the sauce contained nuts as his daughter suffered from a severe allergy to eggs and nuts, as well as asthma.
He was told all three times that the sauce was safe for her to consume but tragically it only took ‘one lick’ to send Habiba into anaphylactic shock.
She died two days later after suffering a severe allergic reaction to the sauce’s ingredients, a post-mortem revealed.
The report confirmed she had lethal doses of peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, and pistachios in her system which “starved her brain” of oxygen.
Her heartbroken father, a doctor with the NHS, said he was “devastated” there was nothing he could do to save her despite “all of his training”.
He told the court how there were no usual symptoms of anaphylactic shock before she suddenly collapsed.
Dr Chishti, from Halifax, West Yorks., told the court: “Habiba took one lick and she was absolutely fine at the time – but that’s all it took.
“When we got back [from the ice cream vendor] she was okay. But when we got to the restaurant she started to feel unwell.
“I went to the reception to see if we could get some help but I didn’t know it was a serious issue.
“By the time I got back to see her my wife said she’d collapsed.
“We have emergency training every year. It’s so scary that we have all this training but it’s no use when there are no symptoms.
“It’s mind boggling. With all the knowledge from everything you learned, it feels like it’s doubly worse. It’s still so hard.
“In that sense I feel even more devastated that we didn’t see what was going on.”
Professor Marta Cohen, a consultant paediatric pathologist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, told the court how ‘one lick is enough’ to kill.
Professor Cohen said: “I took tissue which showed evidence of swelling in the brain. Before she died she went through an episode of starvation of oxygen to the brain.
“The oxygen couldn’t get through her lungs and bloodstream to her brain.
“She was starved of oxygen.
“The ice cream which potentially contained one or more allergen, are all in keeping with the developments of anaphylactic shock.
“On the balance of probability her cause of death was from anaphylactic shock.
“One lick is enough – if someone is really allergic, it can even just be from it being in the environment.
“This is why peanuts are not allowed on planes.”