Hospital Sparks Fury After Serving Glass of OJ and Orange to Woman With Citrus Allergy

A woman has sparked concern on social media after saying she was served both an orange and glass of orange juice during a hospital stay despite her patient notes warning she has a citrus allergy.

Though relatively rare, people who are allergic to citrus fruit can suffer from a range of symptoms if they come into contact with lemons, limes, grapefruits or oranges.

In the majority of instances, the allergy will manifest itself through skin redness, extreme itching, as well as some swelling and blisters. According to website Healthline, in rare cases a citrus allergy can cause a severe allergic reaction, also called anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and can be life-threatening, with symptoms including a swelling of the mouth and throat, a drop in blood pressure and nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

All of which goes some way to explaining why this particular patient was so concerned by the sight of both a glass of orange juice and an orange on her breakfast tray.

Posting to Reddit under the username slytherinqueen186, the unnamed woman shared a picture of the offending food, noting that she received the meal "even though they have me down as allergic to citrus."

At the time of writing, the post has been upvoted over 33,000 times with fellow users expressing shock, dismay and a dash of gallows humor.

Innerchaos96 claimed to work in a hospital kitchen and urged the woman to take action. "You should report them to the state, that's a serious issue and we often have citrus glazes on ham and stuff so that could be really dangerous if you're severely allergic," they wrote.

JBLBEBthree, meanwhile, shared his own experience from being an inpatient for eight days. "I have a lot of food allergies, and despite talking to multiple kitchen staff, almost EVERY meal contained something I was allergic to," they commented. "Most meals I had to send the tray back once and sometimes twice. It made me SO mad because you would think a HOSPITAL would be better at managing allergies!!"

Another user claiming to have worked in a hospital kitchen acknowledged that while they saw standards slip, it was difficult for many of the cooks he worked with to stay motivated.

BabyYoduhh explained: "The mentality of all hospital food being bad bummed out a lot of the cooks because they would make fresh food from scratch then get the reviews back saying this food is trash." They added: "I think often the food gets delivered and the nursing staff is so busy it takes them 30-40 minutes to get the food to the patient so quality drastically goes down."

For others, the blame lay elsewhere. "The hospital is ultimately responsible," this_is_my_new_acct wrote. "If they don't pay enough for people to care or manage things properly, that's on them. They're charging us thousands of dollars to be there and giving us single-digit dollars amounts of food."

Despite the gravity of the situation, some were still able to find the funny. "Tell them you are allergic to beef wellington and cabernet sauvignon," ibrokemyserious quipped.

Shedding more light on her situation, the woman revealed she had been in hospital for abdominal surgery and confirmed she was "in the U.S." She said the hospital where she was treated was "understaffed" so she knew "there will be issues."

"I tried to be patient," she wrote. "But being served something I'm allergic to, that's just not something that should ever happen." The Redditor has since been discharged. In an update, she confirmed that she ate the other food on the tray but only "after confirming that there was no citrus in anything else."

"To those who have had similar experiences, I'm sorry you had to deal with that, especially to those who unknowingly consumed something you're allergic to," she wrote. "It's just insane to have that happen in a hospital of all places."

Newsweek has contacted slytherinqueen186 for comment.

Earlier in November, one parent detailed how they ended up in trouble after serving a Nutella cake at their daughter's birthday despite one of her friends having a nut allergy.

In another instance, a woman with a nut allergy revealed she was contemplating suing her boyfriend because he wouldn't pay her medical bills after she suffered a serious reaction as a result of kissing him hours after he had consumed nut products.

A glass of orange juice and oranges.
Stock image of a glass of orange juice and some orange segments. A woman with a citrus allergy has sparked concern on social media after saying she was served both an orange and glass of orange juice during a hospital stay. PeteerS/Getty