Friday 21 October 2016

Tragic Emma's mum disgusted after inquiry clears pharmacist

Campaigning mum Caroline Sloan
Campaigning mum Caroline Sloan
The late Emma Sloan

The mother of Dublin teen-ager Emma Sloan, who died on O'Connell Street from a severe allergic reaction, has said she is disgusted that an inquiry dismissed charges of poor professional performance against a pharmacist who refused to give her an emergency EpiPen.

Emma (14) died after going into anaphylactic shock when she mistakenly ate satay sauce at an oriental restaurant in Dublin city centre on December 19, 2013.

Once Emma realised she had consumed a peanut-based product, she and her mother Caroline decided to go to Temple Street Children's Hospital.

On the way, Caroline went into the Hamilton Long pharmacy on O'Connell Street to ask for an emergency EpiPen - which is an adrenalin shot used to treat people in anaphylactic shock.

However, pharmacist David Murphy would not give her the device as she had no prescription, and Emma died a short time later.

An inquiry by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland found there was a lack of evidence of poor professional performance on his part.

"If I could appeal the decision I would, but I can't," said Caroline. "Now I'm just going to carry on with my life and my memories of Emma.

"All I have now of Emma is memories, but they are good memories. My conscience is clear - I did everything I could for her.

"Her little sister Mia turns four later this month and I want to keep Emma's memory alive for her.

"We were putting up the Christmas tree and Mia asked me, 'Mam, can we go to heaven to visit Emma?' It breaks my heart."


After Emma's death, Caroline worked tirelessly to have the law changed in relation to the dispensing of EpiPens without prescription.

In October, Health Minister Leo Varadkar signed new legislation allowing life-saving rescue medicines to be administered by trained members of the public in emergency situations, including adrenaline auto-injectors such as EpiPens.

Throughout the Pharmaceutical Society inquiry, there had been a conflict regarding whether Caroline told Mr Murphy that the person who needed the EpiPen was her daughter.

She claimed she did, but Mr Murphy indicated through his legal counsel that he was not informed that the injection was for Emma.

When asked about the apparent discrepancy, Caroline told the inquiry earlier this week that her memory "doesn't fail".

"Two years next week it will be, and it's like it was yesterday," she said.

Speaking after the dismissal of charges against Mr Murphy, Caroline said she was upset and angry.

"I was disgusted, to be honest. It was all very cold and clinical, with no compassion shown for Emma or us," she said.

"If he had given Emma the EpiPen he would have been giving her a chance.

"I'm not saying she definitely would have lived, but she would have had a chance."

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