herald

Saturday 21 September 2019

Mum's campaign after Emma's allergy death saves her pal's life

Emma Sloan died after she was refused an adrenaline pen
Emma Sloan died after she was refused an adrenaline pen

A mother says the tragic death of her daughter at the age of 14 has helped to save a woman known to the family.

Caroline Sloan campaigned for lifesaving adrenaline pens to be dispensed without prescription after daughter Emma died from a violent allergic reaction.

A city pharmacist had refused to give Emma an EpiPen injector without a doctor's authority.

Caroline was instead told to take her to A&E but they had travelled only a few yards when Emma collapsed and died in O'Connell Street in December 2013.

Words

Despite her family's desperate efforts to help her, the teenager could not be saved.

Her last words as she collapsed to the ground were: "I'm not going to make it."

The tragedy inspired Caroline to campaign for EpiPens to be made more widely available and in emergencies chemists are now able to dispense them without prescription.

Now, in an amazing coincidence, Janet Halpin, a friend of Caroline's sister, has been saved by an adrenaline pen from the same pharmacy after she also suffered an allergic reaction in the city.

Janet's husband Wayne posted a message on Facebook thanking staff at Allcare Pharmacy - and Dublin Fire Brigade - for their help.

"Big thanks to the staff of Allcare pharmacy in O'Connell Street and the lads at Dublin Fire Brigade who looked after the wife this evening after she took an allergic reaction to something in a restaurant nearby. Unsung heroes," he wrote.

Caroline replied: "I'm so glad that she's OK and I hope she recovers.

"It's a tough but bittersweet moment for myself and my family.

"Good to know it is Emma that saved your life, Janet. Get well soon," she wrote.

Emma suffered anaphylactic shock in 2013 after eating a peanut-based satay sauce at a nearby Chinese buffet minutes earlier, thinking it was curry.

Campaign

Caroline then threw herself into the campaign for adrenaline injectors to be made available without prescription.

On October 15, 2015, then health minister Leo Varadkar signed new regulations that allowed certain prescription-only medicines to be administered by trained members of the public and pharmacists in an emergency.

A charge of poor professional performance against the chemist - which then went under the name of Hamilton Long Pharmacy - was later struck out.

In anaphylactic shock, blood pressure drops desperately low and vital organs are starved of oxygen.

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