Saturday 20 January 2018

Pharmacist who refused EpiPen for tragic allergy teen is cleared

Pharmacist David Murphy
Pharmacist David Murphy

Liz Farsaci

A pharmacist who refused to give an EpiPen to the mother of a teenager who later died from anaphylactic shock has had a charge alleging poor professional performance against him dismissed.

The Pharmaceutical Society's inquiry into pharmacist David Murphy, who was facing an allegation of poor professional performance, concluded yesterday when the charge was dismissed by the inquiry committee due to lack of evidence.

Upon the committee's ruling, Caroline Sloan, mother of Emma Sloan (14), who died on O'Connell Street in December 2013, became visibly upset.

The Fitness to Practise inquiry was looking into events prior to the death of Emma, from Drimnagh in Dublin.

The teenager died after going into anaphylactic shock after she mistakenly ate satay sauce at a Chinese restaurant in the city centre on December 19, 2013.

Once Emma realised she had eaten a peanut-based product, it was decided that she would go to Temple Street Children's Hospital with her mother.

On the way there, Caroline Sloan went into the Hamilton Long pharmacy on O'Connell Street to request an emergency supply of EpiPen, which is an adrenalin shot used to treat people suffering from anaphylactic shock.

Mr Murphy, who was working in the pharmacy that night, denied Ms Sloan's request for an EpiPen as she did not have a prescription.

It was originally claimed that Mr Murphy failed to adequately respond when he refused Ms Sloan's request for an EpiPen.

Professor Stephen Byrne, of University College Cork, told the inquiry that in his opinion, an adequate interview with Caroline Sloan did not take place so Mr Murphy could determine who the patient was or why the EpiPen was required.

Prof Byrne said a request for an EpiPen would indicate the gravity of the situation, adding that it would be very rare for a pharmacist to be faced with a request for an emergency supply of EpiPen.

Prof Byrne was asked by an inquiry committee member how serious such a request for an EpiPen would be, on the scale of one to 10. He replied that it would be on a level of eight or nine in terms of seriousness.

Throughout the case, there has been a conflict regarding whether Ms Sloan told Mr Murphy that the person who needed the EpiPen was her daughter.

She has claimed that she did so, but Mr Murphy has indicated, through his legal counsel, that he was not informed that the injection was for Ms Sloan's daughter.

When asked about the apparent discrepancy regarding the events, Ms Sloan told the inquiry earlier this week: "My memory doesn't fail. Two years next week, it will be, and it is like it was yesterday."

Irish Independent

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