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'AITA for refusing to pay cousin's ER bill after his kid's allergic reaction to my cookies?' UPDATED

'AITA for refusing to pay cousin's ER bill after his kid's allergic reaction to my cookies?' UPDATED

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"AITA for refusing to pay my cousin's hospital bill?"

Here's the original post:

A few years ago I (32F) took over my mom's portion of the family annual Thanksgiving host rotation. It's a fun event because I get to see family I generally don't see the rest of the year and I love hosting. It is semi-potluck and I make a point of asking about allergies and food preferences.

This year my cousin(36M) told me he was joining with his new wife (they got married in July) and her daughter, who is around 8. Cousin was added to the group chat and didn't say anything about allergies/preferences when asked.

Forward to Thanksgiving. One of the desserts I made was peanut butter cookies. My family and I love them. Cousin's SD ate one and is allergic to peanuts. I had no idea and would never have made them if I knew.

Husband and I took them to a stand alone ER that was about 5 minutes from the house. We stayed with them for some time until she was transferred to the local hospital where she stayed overnight. She ended up being fine.

Last week I got a text from cousin with a pic of the hospital bill. He wanted to know how I wanted to handle it. I called and he and wife expect us to pay the bill. I told him we weren't going to do that.

I reminded him that he had told me nobody had allergies, and hubby and I did pay the copay at the ER ($500) because we felt bad. He had an argument and now the family is involved. They're mostly on my side but some are getting into me for having anything peanut related cause "everybody" has peanut allergies nowadays.

The bill is about $6k. We don't have it. The $500 we paid came out of our Christmas budget. I feel bad his SD got sick. Ultimately tho it's their responsibility to handle things like this. AITA for refusing to pay?

Do you think she owes her cousin a penny? This is what top commenters had to say:

Garden_Weed_Tender said:

NTA, you made a point of asking, they said nothing, then let SD eat not just something that randomly contained peanuts, but a peanut butter cookie without bothering to check.

They sound like lousy parents/stepparents tbh. My husband has a nut allergy and I check and double-check food all*the*time when I shop or when we eat out, I make a point of reminding friends and relatives when we visit, etc.

Swamp_Donkey_7 said:

NTA. As the parent of a child with peanut allergies, you can’t expect the world to pay attention to this for you. Ultimately it’s going to be the child/parents responsibility. Peanut allergies are common but you can’t expect the world to just give up peanut.

My 5 year old knows how to ask if foods have peanuts before eating. We’ve also been showing up to parties with a desert in hand for our child because 99 times out of 100 the desert/treats are not peanut safe. Very rarely does someone go out of their way to be peanut safe without being told in advance.

For the 8-year old not to ask/know, or the parents to not mention it or inquire is a bit puzzling. Bad situation overall but I wouldn’t hold you responsible if this was my child. It wasn’t your responsibility and you did ask.

spectrumtwelve said:

NTA. You paid the ER copay, that was already more than you needed to do. People with allergies are the ones ultimately responsible for providing visibility on them.

If there's a dinner event coming up and I'm allergic to a very common thing, then I'd let everyone know and be sure to have an epi pen on hand just in case. Or I'd at least ask before blindly eating cookies that multiple family members already know are peanut butter, ones that probably smelled very obviously like it too.

CoolMoose9566 said:

NTA. It’s possible your cousin didn’t know his step daughter was allergic to them. Her mother is totally responsible for her. She is 8! Shouldn’t her mother have been checking everything she wanted to eat knowing she had an serious allergy.

Doesn’t seem there is a relationship to save with your cousin. Keep a record of the chat where he does not disclose her allergy - just in case they take legal action.

Verdict: a resounding, unanimous NTA.

She later shared this update on the situation:

Showed the bill to a friend, who helped me understand that this is the TOTAL bill, not what is owed privately. Also, I called Uncle (cousin's dad). Uncle wasn't at the event and has been rather silent in this matter.

I learned that cousin hasn't shared that A) nobody shared allergy issues and B) that we paid the initial copay. Uncle is now upset. I have been told not to worry my pretty little head and he will have a chat with his son. If anybody needs me, I'll be sitting at my desk doing my best Mr. Burns imitation.

She then shared this second update:

Uncle just texted me with the following: "I called my son and told him he needs to leave you alone and take responsibility for his mistakes. Then I called his mother and told her she needs to get a handle on that boy of hers.

Don't you worry about a thing." I have to admit, y'all, I'm DYING. Thank you everyone for validating my gut reaction. I have a tendency to overthink and often feel guilty about things I shouldn't. You're all very kind! I'm turning off notifications now.

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