Customer Sues McDonald’s After Near-Death Dining Experience
New York resident Charles Olsen lives with a severe dairy allergy that at one point threatened his life, all because of a McDonald’s Big Mac. Now, Olsen is seeking damages from the fast food giant.
In a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, Olsen claimed that he was sent into acute anaphylactic shock one night in February 2021 after ordering a Big Mac meal with no cheese and a Sprite. The Big Mac had a slice of American cheese on it, and he realized something was wrong right away.
“After a few bites, he immediately felt like something wasn’t right,” the suit stated. “His throat began to itch and swell. He felt a burning sensation throughout his body. He looked at his girlfriend, Alexandra, and coughed, ‘There’s milk in this!'” His body was soon “covered in hives” as he struggled to get oxygen. “His breathing became heavy and congested. His whole body felt feverish. He developed a persistent cough, followed by wheezing. He also began gasping for air,” the suit detailed. “He choked out his words to Alexandra that he needed medical help right away.”
Alexandra rushed Olsen to the hospital as he went into anaphylaxis. He “was hypoxic and on the brink of needing intubation to save his life,” the suit said. “All the while, his throat was continuing to swell and close.” Finally, the medication he was administered began to work and he started to breathe right as medical professionals were getting ready to hook him up to a ventilator.
It was a near-death experience that didn’t need to happen at all. “The problem is this is all completely avoidable,” Olsen’s attorney Jory Lange told The Daily Beast. “With the rising number of people who suffer from really serious food allergies, like Mr. Olson, it’s really, really important for restaurants, that whenever a customer tells you, ‘Hey, don’t include this particular ingredient in my order,’ that they honor it. Especially if it’s something like milk or cheese, which is one of the nine most common food allergens that leads to people having anaphylaxis and ending up in the emergency room.”
If you fall into this camp, always double- and triple-check your food before chowing down, even if you’ve been told it’s been prepared with your allergies in mind.