Teen went into cardiac arrest, resuscitated after drinking Panera’s Charged Lemonade: lawsuit

A cup of Charged Lemonade on a table at Panera.

A teen in Western Pennsylvania had to be resuscitated after going into cardiac arrest when he drank a now-discontinued Charged Lemonade from Panera in March.

A lawsuit has been filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania over the incident.

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Luke Adams, 18, bought and consumed a chicken sandwich and a large Charged Lemonade on March 9 in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, NBC News reported. He then went to a movie with friends. One noticed Adams was making “unusual sounds” and was unresponsive.

Two nurses and a cardiologist who were at the theater performed CPR and used an external defibrillator to keep him alive.

“He was about as close as you can come to being dead,” Dr. Andrew Pogozelski, the doctor treating Adams, told NBC News.

Adams had no known health conditions before the incident.

“This was about as unlucky as you can get for this to happen to an 18-year-old, otherwise healthy person — but about as lucky as you can get for people in the movie theater to know what they were doing,” said Pogozelski, who is the chief of cardiology at Allegheny Health Network’s Forbes Hospital.

Adams also suffered two seizures which, according to the lawsuit, had “unclear etiology, possibly related to cardiac arrest secondary to caffeine intake from Panera Charged Lemonade.”

Charged Lemonade was discontinued by Panera about two weeks before Adams’ suit — which is one of several — was filed. Before it was discontinued and after the first lawsuits were filed, Panera put a warning on the drink saying to enjoy it in moderation and that it should not be drunk by children, people sensitive to caffeine or pregnant or nursing women.

It was also put behind the counter instead of being left in the self-serve area.

Panera said earlier this month that the drink was being discontinued after a “recent menu transformation.”

The Food and Drug Administration says adults can have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine daily safely. A large Charged Lemonade had 390 milligrams, or more caffeine than Panera’s dark roast coffee, no matter the size.

The drink Adams ordered was a large Mango Yuzu Citrus Charged Lemonade which had 237 milligrams of caffeine with ice and 390 milligrams without ice, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit contends that Adams “was not aware that the Charged Lemonade was a super energy drink” containing “high amounts” of sugar and guarana and that the cardiac arrest led Adams to need an implanted cardioverter defibrillator.

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