Friday 19 January 2018

Nut allergy girl didn't need script for life-saving jab

Emma Sloan died after having an allergic reaction to a peanut sauce she had in a restaurant.
Emma Sloan died after having an allergic reaction to a peanut sauce she had in a restaurant.

Luke Byrne and Alan O'Keeffe

A YOUNG teen who collapsed and died from a nut allergy did not need a prescription to get a potentially life-saving injection.

Emma Sloan (14) collapsed and died in Dublin city centre -- after unknowingly eating satay sauce with nuts -- as her mother attempted to rush her to hospital when a pharmacy refused to sell her the 'epipen' injection.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) has begun an investigation into her death, which is also under garda investigation.

The young girl would have been eligible to receive an epipen -- a pen-like adrenaline injection -- from a pharmacist without the need for a prescription under "emergency supply".

Emma's classmates in Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School in Drimnagh will join her family today to say farewell to the girl described as "bubbly".

A prayer service was also held at the school yesterday in memory of the budding make-up artist, who had loved art, fashion and 'The X Factor'. Emma's friends will perform a guard of honour at her funeral Mass in the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mourne Road.

The teenager had been eating at Jimmy Chung's Chinese buffet on Eden Quay on Wednesday when she mistakenly chose a satay sauce with nuts in it.

Her mother, Caroline, rushed the teenager to nearby Hamilton Long pharmacy but the pharmacist declined to sell an epipen because she didn't have a prescription. She was told to bring Emma to A&E, but they only travelled a few yards when the Emma collapsed and died with her family desperately trying to help her.

Officers from the PSI visited the pharmacy premises on O'Connell Street yesterday. In a statement, the PSI offered its sympathy to the family involved. "It would not be appropriate at this time to comment further," it added.

A garda spokesman confirmed that the circumstances surrounding the sudden death were being investigated.

Regulations introduced in 2003 allow pharmacists, in emergency circumstances, to supply prescription-only medicines without a prescription.

"We would express our deepest condolences to the family," Hamilton Long pharmacist Matej Premzl said. "As this matter is under investigation, I can't comment any further."

Emma's heartbroken mother, sisters Ann and Mia and grandmother Vera have asked mourners at today's funeral to donate to Temple Street Children's Hospital instead of floral tributes.

Her school principal, Margaret Maher, said: "All of our students are very upset. She was so loved."

Irish Independent

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