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Woman Sues Hotel, Claims Non-Gluten-free Pastries Made Her Sick


Photo: CC--Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin

Celiac.com 09/02/2016 - A Canadian woman who claims to suffer from celiac disease has sued Mohegan Sun Pocono and its buffet, Timbers, after she allegedly became ill from eating pastries mislabeled as "gluten free."

The woman says the pastries labeled as "gluten free" at the buffet were standard non-gluten-free pastries, and says the error made her violently ill, and caused weight loss and several weeks of sickness.

Dianne M. Leyshon, of Terrace Avenue, Harding, claims that, at a brunch served on July, 27, 2014, Timbers Buffet represented the desserts as gluten-free. The complaint alleges Leyshon became "violently ill" after she ate "several pastries."

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Gluten can inflame and damage the inner lining of the small intestine if eaten by those with celiac disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. She was later taken via ambulance to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center with "severe dehydration" and continued to feel the injuries' effects weeks later, losing as much as eight pounds in the process, according to the complaint.

The complaint seeks a sum in excess of what Leyshon would stand to win through out-of-court arbitration as well as costs and interest.

A Mohegan Sun Pocono spokesperson has not yet returned comment.

Read more at the Timesleader.com.

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10 Responses:

 
Allie T
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
05 Sep 2016 9:07:22 AM PDT
I'm truly sorry that this happened to someone, but that is the risk you take when you eat somewhere other than home. I'm sure no-one did it intentionally. Humans make mistakes. I know this when I eat out. It is a risk I take. It's the constant threat of litigation that is going to make it more difficult for people with celiac disease. For many establishments, it just won't be worth the risk.

 
Jake
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
06 Sep 2016 5:25:20 PM PDT
Well put, I agree completely.

 
Jason
Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
05 Sep 2016 5:02:47 PM PDT
That's exactly what we don't need. We want places to keep GF menus right?

 
Kirsi
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
06 Sep 2016 2:17:14 AM PDT
Good! I hope she wins! It's about time restaurants took gluten and allergies seriously! They can be life threatening! Myself I once had a Frappuccino at Starbucks, and was very careful to make sure it was gluten free, but the crumbles they put on top of the cream were made of graham ( wheat). I was so sick for many days!

 
Jake
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
06 Sep 2016 5:45:19 AM PDT
I worry that lawsuits like this will cause eating establishments to stop offering GF options.

 
India
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
06 Sep 2016 6:10:06 AM PDT
A few months ago I, too, was severely glutened at a 5 star resort. The bread and salad they served were GF but the meal was not. I have never been so sick. A few weeks later I was diagnosed with late onset adult diabetes. Coincidence?! To sue or not to sue?!

 
Carol
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
06 Sep 2016 9:42:38 AM PDT
I recently encountered gluten from using Thera Putty for my sprained wrist. My entire alimentary canal was on FIRE for 2.5 months! I lost 11 pounds, only slept 3 - 4 hours a night and aged 5 years or more. My Hashimoto´s antibodies went from 400 to over 1400. I feel the company should also be sued along with the hospital who failed to warn me where I had the occupational therapy.

 
Amanda Y
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
06 Sep 2016 4:46:13 PM PDT
So scary! It's things like that that worry me and make me want to only eat pre-packaged things I bring with me (or at least lower risk grilled meat, etc. vs. pastries)! I am so sorry that happened to her and while I hate to see people sue, sometimes that's the only way to get people to take things seriously.

 
Yesmin Wilson
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
07 Sep 2016 1:54:33 PM PDT
I hate getting contaminated foods (or wrong foods) like I did once at P.F. Changs, I was in severe pain for about an hour in a hotel room without any medications (worst experience of my life), but suing will only cause restaurants to STOP serving GF options. I try to educate each and every one of my waiters/waitresses so that they understand the severity of the situation if I receive contaminated foods!

 
Diane
Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
12 Sep 2016 8:09:10 AM PDT
A lawsuit will go a long way toward ruining things for all celiacs like myself who appreciate the fact that many restaurants go out of their way to offer GF foods. Why should restaurants take the chance? Did this person have serious consequences requiring hospitalization that might somehow be cause for a lawsuit? Yesmin did a nice job of explaining how to help educate others. We have to specify that we are celiac. I just ate at a restaurant, ordered from their GF menu and received my meal. I was about to eat and noted the gravy on the potatoes, so I asked if the gravy was GF. It was a mistake. They were not. The restaurant was horrified and remade the dinner. They are trying, but we ourselves have to be vigilant and proactive. Restaurants have much to deal with and many people to please.




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I am very interested in this too. My daughter tested negative for celiac, but has terrible primarily neurological symptoms. Because she tested positive for SIBO at the time and was having some GI symptoms, I was told it was just a Fodmap issue. I knew better and we have been gluten free for 2 years. Fast forward to this February. She had a SIBO recurrence that I treated at home with diet and herbal antibiotics because I couldn't get the insurance referral. She was doing great. Then stupid me brought in gluten containing chick feed for the new baby chicks we got. Feed dust everywhere. Total mess. Really, no GI symptoms (she was SIBO free by then)...but the neurological symptoms! my daughter couldn't walk for three days. Burning down one leg, nerve pain in the foot. Also heaviness of limbs, headache and fatigue. Better after three days. But unfortunately she had a TINY gluten exposure at that three day mark and had another severe reaction: loss of balance, loss of feeling in her back and arms, couldn't see for a few seconds, and three days of hand numbness, fatigue, concentration problems. Well, I actually contacted Dr. Hadjivassilou by email and he confirmed that the symptoms are consistent with gluten ataxia but any testing would require a gluten challenge. Even with these exposures, antibodies would not be high enough. His suggestion was maintain vigilance gluten free. I just saw my daughter's GI at U of C and she really only recognizes celiac disease and neurological complications of that. But my impression is that gluten ataxia is another branch in the autoimmune side of things (with celiac and DH being the other two). At this point, I know a diagnosis is important. But I don't know how to get there. We homeschool right now so I can give her time to heal when she is accidentally glutened, I can keep my home safe for her (ugh, that I didn't think of the chicken feed!) But at some point, she is going to be in college, needing to take exams, and totally incapacitated because of an exposure. And doctors state side that are worth seeing? Who is looking at gluten ataxia in the US?

Caro..............monitoring only the TSH to gauge thyroid function is what endo's do who don' t do a good job of managing thyroid disease. They should do the full panel and check the actual thyroid hormone numbers.........T3 and T4. The importance of the TSH comes second to hormone levels. In order to track how severely the thyroid is under attack, you need to track antibody levels.......not the TSH. I did not stay with endocrinologists because I found they did not do a very good job and found much greater help and results with a functional medicine MD. You should not have a goiter if your thyroid is functioning well and your TSH is "normal". Maybe they should do a full panel? Going gluten free can have a profound affect for the better on thyroid function and that is something that is becoming more and more accepted today. Ask most people with Celiac and thyroid disease and they will tell you that. My thyroid never functioned well or was under control under after I discovered I had Celiac and went gluten free. It was the only way I got my antibody numbers back down close to normal and they were around 1200 when it was diagnosed with Celiac. I was diagnosed with Hashi's long before the Celiac diagnosis. I am not sure Vitamin D has anything to do with thyroid antibodies but who knows? Maybe it does have an affect for the better. It is really hard to get Vitmain D levels up, depending on where you live. Mine are going up, slowly, even after 12 years gluten-free but I live in the Northeast in the US and we don't have sun levels like they do in the South. I take 5,000 IU daily and that is a safe level to take, believe it or not. I get no sun on my job so the large dose it is! Having Celiac Disease should not stop you from being able to travel, especially S. America. I travel, although I do agree that some countries might be very difficult to be gluten free in. You can be a foodie and travel with Celiac so no worries on that front. You may not be able to sample from someone else's plate, unless they are eating gluten-free too but I have had awesome experiences with food when traveling so you can too!

I don't know what you drank or where.... so here are a few thoughts. - sure, a dive bar might have dirty glasses and serve a cocktail in a beer glass? But a nice reminder place, with a dishwasher, should be fine. If it's a sketchy place, Stick to wine, then it's served in wine glasses that aren't used for beer or bottled ciders in the bottle. - ciders on tap might, just a slight chance, have an issue. Because of beer on tap, mixed up lines, etc. - you may have a problem with alcohol - you may have issues with The high sugar content of the drink. I know I have similar issues if I drink serveral ciders of extra sugary brands - are you positive it was a gluten-free drink? Not this " redds Apple" pretending to be a cider - it's beer with apple flavor. Or one of those " gluten removed " beers?

Hi Stephanie, I'm also from the UK, I've found this site more helpful than anything we have! As already mentioned above, in my experience it could depend on what and where you were drinking. Gluten free food and drink isn't always (not usually) 100% gluten free as you may know, maybe you have become more sensitive to even a trace of gluten that is probably in gluten free food/drink. Is it possible you have a problem with corn, particularly high fructose corn syrup that is in a lot of alcoholic drinks? This was a big problem for me and the only alcoholic drinks I can tolerate are William Chase vodka and gin. I contacted the company last year and all their drinks are 100% gluten and corn free, made the old fashioned way with no additives, so maybe try their products if you like the occasional drink and see how you get on. If you drink out, not many pubs sell their products but I know Wetherspoons do and smaller wine bars may too. l was never a spirit drinker but I must say their products are absolutely lovely! Very easy on a compromised gut too considering it's alcohol. I second the suggestion on seeing a natural health practitioner. I've recently started seeing a medical herbalist, as I've got nowhere with my now many food intolerances since going gluten free last year and I've noticed a difference in my health already.

Sorry for the very late reply and thanks for the replies, I didn't get a notification of any. In case anyone else comes across this and has been wondering the same as I was, I did try a vegetable broth and I did react to it in the same way as if I'd eaten the vegetables. As for the candida, I've been using coconut oil and am seeing a medical herbalist for this and leaky gut. It's only been a few weeks but I've noticed an improvement all round.