Saturday 1 October 2016

Pharmacist told he would be 'slaughtered' after refusal to give EpiPen to mother of girl with peanut allergy - inquiry

Sam Griffin

Published 08/12/2015 | 12:40

Pharmacist David Murphy arriving at the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland inquiry
Pharmacist David Murphy arriving at the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland inquiry
Emma Sloan’s mother Caroline Sloan and her daughter Amy at the inquiry
Emma Sloan died after eating food containing nuts

STAFF at the pharmacy which refused to give an EpiPen to the mother of a school girl who died after suffering an allergic reaction have received death threats and verbal abuse, a fitness to practise inquiry has heard.

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The inquiry is examining an allegation of poor professional performance against pharmacist David Murphy.

It is alleged Mr Murphy failed to respond adequately when he declined to give Caroline Sloan an Epipen, used to treat people suffering from anaphylactic shock, because she did not have a prescription.

Emma Sloan, who was aged 14 at the time, died tragically after she ate a sauce containing peanuts at a Chinese restaurant in December 2013.

Read more: 'We didn't know nut allergy could be fatal' - mum of tragic Emma

In its second day, the Pharmaceutical Society inquiry this morning heard from Rachel Horan who was working at the Hamilton Long Pharmacy on O’Connell Street when Emma Sloan’s mother Caroline entered the store seeking an EpiPen.

She said Ms Sloan did not appear "stressed or agitated" and left the shop calmly after she was told the pharmacy could not dispense an EpiPen without prescription.

She gave evidence that she didn't realise the EpiPen was intended for use on for a child and thought the person who was suffering the attack was not outside the pharmacy but in a restaurant somewhere nearby.

Ms Horan also told the inquiry she heard pharmacist David Murphy advise Ms Sloan to call an ambulance.

Asked how the incident had affected those working in the pharmacy, she agreed there had been “untoward incidents” which had “affected us all” including Mr Murphy.

“We got some not very nice phone calls,” she said, and referenced one occasion where, not Mr Murphy, but “another pharmacist answered the phone and he was told he was going to be slaughtered”.

She said there had been other incidents of persistent phone calls to the pharmacy where the caller would hang up when the phone was answered as well as verbal abuse from people outside the pharmacy.

A security guard at the pharmacy who also gave evidence said gardaí had given advice to staff for their own safety.

Earlier Caroline Sloan said she recalled informing staff in the pharmacy the EpiPen was needed for her daughter who was suffering an allergic reaction. She said Mr Murphy couldn't dispense the EpiPen without prescription and said he advised her to to go hospital.

She said her family's life "is on hold" since the tragic death almost two years ago.

The inquiry continues.

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