A woman who nearly died from a severe nut reaction has lashed out at the “laziness” of a waitress at a Byron Bay restaurant and the venue for not compensating her for her ordeal.
Jaicey Revelle took to the Byron Bay Community Board on Facebook to share her horrific reaction to a dip served at a restaurant in the popular NSW town earlier this month, saying she’d only worked up the courage to return to confront the staff member at the weekend.
The 22-year-old was only offered a free drink to say sorry for the ordeal that saw her rushed to hospital, her face swell up and hives break out all over her body.
Ms Revelle said she had specifically asked the waitress if a fish dip with hemp bread and chilli oil had nuts in it because she had a severe allergy to them and was assured “not once but twice” the meal was safe for her to eat.
“It took two bites of the dip for my mouth and throat to start flaring up,” she said.
“I then got up and asked another waiter to triple check that it didn’t contain nuts, and he told me straight away that it was in fact made with cashews.
“This was not obviously not communicated with me to begin with, nor was it listed in the menu, so when I was told this I explained to him that I am deathly allergic to cashews and had to go to the hospital immediately.”
Ms Revelle and her partner rushed from the restaurant and she gave herself an EpiPen injection on the way to hospital.
“I was struggling to breathe and could physically feel my throat closing, and administered it on the way to the hospital where I was admitted into the emergency room and treated for a severe anaphylactic reaction,” she said.
“I was given steroids and antihistamines, but an hour later, I had to call for nurses again as my entire body felt like an ant hill had been emptied onto my body and lit on fire.
“This was a second reaction to the cashews still being in my system, and it was then that my face, specifically my eye and nose area, swelled up until my eyes were slits in my face and a rash and hives broke out on my body.”
Ms Revelle said she was given more medication and kept awake until the swelling subsided and the doctors felt comfortable allowing her to try to get some sleep.
She was discharged the following morning.
On the weekend she said she finally felt comfortable enough to go back to the restaurant to talk to the waitress who served her.
“I explained the severity of the situation and was hoping to prevent this from happening to anyone else,” she explained.
“I purely went in to talk to her about the dangers of misinformation and miscommunication in hospitality, especially when it applies to allergies and intolerances.
“To my dismay, all she responded with was an introduction to who she was, a simple ‘I’m sorry’ and an offer for a free drink next time I plan to have dinner there.
“I was quite offended that she thought having a near-death experience due to her incompetency was valued to a free drink, so I requested to speak to the manager.”
Ms Revelle said the owner came to speak to her, and she was equally disappointed with his response.
“He was more upset that his staff had offered a free drink than the trouble she had caused,” she said.
“He then went on to say that he wouldn’t be giving me cash or dinner vouchers as compensation.
“When I suggested that he edit his menu to list that the dip was made with cashews as well, he responded that he can’t just list all the ingredients in a dish for everything as it doesn’t matter. I then said I agree, you can’t list all the flavours and spices and whatnot that’s in it, but you should be advertising the main ingredients especially if they’re common allergens to which he replied there are many common allergens and if people have allergies, they shouldn’t eat at his restaurant or anywhere out as it’s high risk.”
Ms Revelle said because of the waitress’s laziness in not confirming with the kitchen staff and the lack of training from supervisors or owners she ended up in a situation she would not wish upon anyone.