herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

'Her body was just lifeless', Emma mum tells inquest

A mother told an inquest today of the frantic efforts to save her daughter who suffered a fatal allergic reaction to a nut sauce in a Dublin restaurant.

Caroline Sloan said her daughter Emma (14) unwittingly ate a nut-based satay sauce on a family trip to Jimmy Chung's on Eden Quay just days before Christmas two years ago.

The teenager, from Drimnagh, died in the centre on December 18, 2013.

Ms Sloan said a sign over the sauce read "nuts contained", but neither she nor Emma noticed it.

Emma consumed some of the sauce and told her mother she could feel a tingling in her lips.

They decided to leave the restaurant and go to Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Ms Sloan told the inquest that Emma was diagnosed as allergic to nuts as a child but was never informed that it could prove fatal.

She said that after the Jimmy Chung's incident she went into the Hamilton Long pharmacy in O'Connell Street while Emma waited outside. She asked a staff member for an EpiPen for Emma to treat the reaction and was referred to pharmacist David Murphy.

Ms Sloan told him that Emma was having an allergic reaction but he said he could not provide an EpiPen without a prescription.

Ms Sloan said the pharmacist was "dismissive" and did not ask to see Emma. She said he told her to take her to the hospital.

Ms Sloan told today's inquest that he did not advise her to take her to a doctor working upstairs in the pharmacy building.

She hurried to get her car from Arnotts' car park and left Emma with her aunt. When she returned with the car, Emma was lying on the footpath with a crowd around her.

"I was screaming like a lunatic. I could see her body was just lifeless. I knew she was dead," Ms Sloan said.

She said ambulance paramedics worked on Emma and took her to Temple Street Hospital.

Ms Sloan, her sister and two other daughters were all taken to the hospital by gardai.

She said they were all crying in the hospital as doctors worked on Emma.

"I knew she was dead. I could hear the flatline," she said.

When questioned by coroner Brian Farrell, Ms Sloan said she did not realise that Emma's nut allergy could be fatal.

She said a consultant at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children told her at some other time that they do not tell parents their children could die because it was so rare and they did not want to panic people.

Ms Sloan has gone on to spearhead a public campaign to change the law to make EpiPens more available.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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