Winnipeg Woman Sued Tim Hortons After Tea Mishap Hospitalization

A Winnipeg woman, Gabrielle Lien Ho, is suing Tim Hortons, alleging a severe allergic reaction that led to her heart stopping for several minutes due to a staff mistake. 

The lawsuit, filed against Tim Hortons, Restaurant Brands International (the parent company of Tim Hortons), and the operator of the franchise, claims that the defendants failed to properly train employees in handling drink modifications or substitutions.

The incident occurred when Ho ordered tea using the Tim Hortons mobile app and requested almond milk instead of dairy. However, there were no options on the app to add special instructions or allergy warnings. After taking a sip, Ho, who has a milk protein allergy, immediately experienced an allergic reaction. She used an EpiPen with the help of her mother and was rushed to the hospital, her health deteriorating on the way.

At the hospital, CPR was performed for approximately eight minutes to restart her heart. She was then transferred to an intensive care unit and remained hospitalized until June 12. 

Following her hospitalization, Ho developed severe headaches, vision loss, tingling, burning sensations, and weakness on her left side. An MRI revealed signs of a condition resulting from a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Ho has been unable to recover fully and now faces fatigue, tremors, and balance issues, requiring assistance for daily activities. She is suing for general damages, loss of income, and future care costs. Her lawyer, Jason Harvey, has called for changes to the Tim Hortons app to allow consumers to indicate allergy concerns for their safety.

Tim Hortons responded that they cannot comment on the case due to it being before the courts but emphasized their commitment to addressing allergies and reducing risks for guests.

As of now, none of the claims in the lawsuit have been proven in court, and none of the companies involved have filed statements of defence. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of allergy awareness and communication in food services, especially for individuals with severe allergies.

Source: The Canadian Press

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