'I knew she was dead' - Mum tells of efforts to save daughter after fatal reaction to nut sauce
A mother told an inquest today of 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) consumed a nut-based satay sauce on a family trip to Jimmy Chung’s restaurant on Eden Quay which looked like a curry sauce just days before Christmas two years ago.
The teenager from Drimnagh died in Dublin city centre on December 18, 2013.
The mother said a sign over the sauce stated ‘nuts contained’ but neither she nor Emma noticed the sign.
Emma consumed some of the sauce and told her that she could feel a tingling in her lips and they decided they would leave the restaurant and go to Temple Street childrens hospital.
Ms Sloan told the inquest that Emma had been diagnosed as a child that she was allergic to nuts but that she was never informed that it could prove fatal.
The mother said she went into the Hamilton Long pharmacy nearby in O’Connell Street when Emma waited outside. Caroline asked a staff member for an Epipen for Emma to treat the reaction.
The staff member referred her to a pharmacist. She told him Emma was having an allergic reaction but he told her he could not give an Epipen without a prescription.
Ms Sloan said the pharmacist was “dismissive” and did not ask to see Emma.
She said the pharmacist told her to take her to the hospital. Ms Sloan told today’s inquest that he did not advise her to bring her to a doctor working upstairs in the pharmacy building.
She hurried to get her car parked in Arnott’s carpark and left Emma with her aunt. But 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 lifeless. I knew she was dead,” Ms Sloan said.
She said ambulance paramedics worked on her and brought 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 her.
“I knew she was dead. I could hear the flat-line,” she said.
When questioned by coroner Brian Farrell, she 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 that their childrenn could die because it was so rare and they did not want to panic people.
Following Emma’s death, Ms Sloan has gone onto spearhead a public campaign to change the law to make Epi-Pens more available without the need of a prescription.