Girl, 14, died of nut allergic reaction ‘after being refused Epipen in pharmacy’

The family of a 14-year-old girl who died from a nut allergy after being allegedly refused an Epipen at a pharmacy yesterday settled a legal action for €50,000 (about £43,000).

Teenager Emma Sloan had an anaphylactic shock after mistakenly eating a sauce containing nuts at a Chinese restaurant in Dublin city centre on December 18, 2013.

She and her mother Caroline had gone to Hamilton Long Allcare Pharmacy on O’Connell Street seeking a life-saving adrenaline injector, but was allegedly declined because she did not have a prescription.

Caroline, of Kilworth Road, Drimnagh, Dublin, had sued pharmacist David Murphy and Ballychem Ltd trading as Hamilton Long Allcare Pharmacy following her daughter’s death.

In an affidavit to the court she said she, along with Emma, her two sisters and aunt, had attended a Chinese restaurant on Eden Quay.

Caroline said they had a buffet-style dinner and that “tragically Emma consumed a nut sauce by mistake called satay”.

Emma suffered an anaphylactic reaction and her mother went to Hamilton Long Allcare Pharmacy requesting an Epipen.

In 2015, a charge of poor professional performance against Mr Murphy was struck out.

The fitness to practise committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland acceded to a request by lawyers for him that he had no case to answer.

It had been alleged Mr Murphy failed to respond adequately when declining to give Emma’s mother an autoinjector because she did not have a prescription for her daughter.

Yesterday, Caroline’s counsel Gordon Walsh BL told the High Court the €50,000 settlement was without an admission of liability.

Allergies

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Garrett Simons said as the deceased was only 14 years of age there was no claim for loss of earnings and the full value of the settlement was achieved.

The settlement includes special damages and the statutory amount called a solatium, which in this case was just over €21,000.

A solatium is paid to the dependants of a deceased person for mental distress in fatal personal injuries action and is intended to be an acknowledgement of the grief and upset suffered.