Emma Sloan, the 14-year-old girl who died on Dublin’s O’Connell Street after eating a sauce containing nuts, should have been saved by a local pharmacist who refused to inject her with a life saving antidote.
An EpiPen injection would have saved her life but when her desperate mother pleaded with a pharmacist he instead referred her to a local emergency room. She died on the way there. It turns out the pharmacist could have administered an antidote without fear of prosecution.
She had eaten satay sauce with nuts in a Chinese restaurant as her family celebrated Christmas. Her mother rushed her to a local pharmacy on O’Connell Street when she began to have difficulties breathing.
In a statement, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland offered its sympathy to the family involved. “It would not be appropriate at this time to comment further,” it added.
It transpires that recent regulations permit a pharmacist to supply prescription-only medicines without a prescription in an emergency.
“Emergency supply can be carried out at the request of a patient or at the request of a prescriber,” the guidelines state.
One pharmacist, who did not wished to be named, said he had sympathy for both the family and the pharmacist involved and denied the pharmacist should have acted.
The Irish Independent quoted a pharmacist as saying “Pharmacists are absolutely terrified of exercising our own discretion. There are regulations but in fact, if he issued the EpiPen he would have been acting outside the law.
“I feel terrible for the pharmacist involved and obviously for the family."
The case had sent “shockwaves” through the profession he told the paper.