herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Peanut allergy girl's mum gets 116,000 names

The mother of Dublin teenager Emma Sloan (14) who died on O'Connell Street from a severe allergic reaction, has collected 116,000 signatures to push the Government to make life saving pens widely available.

Caroline Sloan, from Drimnagh, plans to bring the signatures to Health Minister Leo Varadkar's door and demand that life-saving EpiPens be placed in every school, crèche and restaurant in the country.

Shock

Emma (14) died after a pharmacy refused to give her an EpiPen medical device when she went into anaphylactic shock in December of last year. The 14-year-old collapsed and died on the pavement.

She had mistakenly eaten a peanut-based satay sauce at a nearby Chinese buffet minutes beforehand and had a severe allergic reaction.

"If we had known she was in danger from an allergy she would never have gone out without an EpiPen," said Caroline as the signatures went on display in her local John Bosco Centre in Drimnagh yesterday.

She explained that on two previous occasions, Emma's lips had swelled up and she had taken her to the doctor.

"Nobody there said it was potentially fatal. She was never sent to a specialist and no-one brought me in, sat me down and told me it could kill her.

Difficult

"We didn't know about this before Emma's death. If Emma had got that injection that night she would be alive today."

Caroline has found the last nine months very difficult "but I've been carried along by the Emma's Voice campaign.

"Emma was just 14 and had her whole life to live. We have nothing to gain only to make sure this never happens again."

The mother-of-three says she wants to see more allergy clinics around the country so people at risk of severe reactions are made aware.

She would also like to see EpiPens "in every first aid box in the country".

She is concerned that people at risk are expected to carry two pens - which cost €70 each - and they often have a shelf life of only six months.

Yesterday, Caroline praised Emma's classmates from fifth year in Our Lady of Mercy School in Drimnagh.

"You came everywhere I asked you and never once complained," she added.

Dublin's Lord Mayor Christy Burke officiated at the event to mark the finalisation of the petition.

He described the ongoing pain for Emma's family as being "like surgery without an anaesthetic".

He said nobody should be expected "to have to go to such lengths as this petition to save the next person's life".

The volunteers who had collected the signatures should realise they did "a better job than the legislators who are well paid and when you meet them remind them", he added.

csheehy@herald.ie

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