A 14-year-old girl died recently after a pharmacy wouldn’t give her mother an EpiPen that would have stopped an allergic reaction to peanuts.
Emma Sloan was out to eat with her family when she ordered what she thought was curry sauce from a Chinese restaurant. The sauce turned out to be satay, which is made with peanuts, and a short time later, Sloan complained of trouble breathing.
She began to have a severe allergic reaction from ingesting the peanuts, so her mother ran around the corner to a pharmacy to ask them for an EpiPen. The EpiPen is a pocket-sized shot of adrenaline that reverses the effects of an allergic reaction, and had they been able to get their hands on one, they could have saved Sloan’s life.
The pharmacist, however, denied Sloan’s mother Caroline an EpiPen because she didn’t have a prescription, but encouraged her to take her daughter to the emergency room. Caroline pleaded with the man to give one to her, but he refused. Meanwhile, Emma Sloan laid out on the street in anaphylactic shock, surrounding by a crowd of onlookers as well as her two sisters. After being refused an EpiPen by the pharmacist, Carolina attempted to take her daughter to the nearest hospital, but she wasn’t able to get that far.
Emma collapsed on the street, and even though a passing doctor tried to keep her alive, she succumbed to the reaction and died in front of her family and a group of onlookers.
Caroline says she does not blame the Chinese restaurant for giving them the sauce with peanuts, but is furious that she was ignored by the pharmacist.
"I'm so angry I was not given the EpiPen to inject her. I was told to bring Emma to an A&E department," said Mrs. Sloan. "Emma was allergic to nuts and was very careful. How could a peanut kill my child? I want to appeal to parents of children with nut allergies to make sure their child always carries an EpiPen with them."
Emma has always been very careful and would check the ingredients of every chocolate bar and other foods to be sure they didn't contain nuts," Caroline added.
Both police and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland are currently investigating the young girl's tragic death.