A man staggered into the Anna Kelly Chemist Pharmacy in Nenagh, Ireland last week with a severe rash, facial swelling, and trouble breathing. Luckily, Tanya Knox, the pharmacist on-duty, knew the signs of anaphylaxis and took swift action.
Ms Knox described the incident to the Nenagh Guardian:
He complained his throat was tightening and my training kicked in. I took charge, requested a staff member to phone an ambulance and to inform them that we have a case of anaphylaxis. I asked another staff member to retrieve the defibrillator for the worst-case scenario. I grabbed the adrenaline [epinephrine] and brought the patient to the consultation room. My pharmacist colleague came to assist and calmed the patient by talking to him. I remembered the words of the trainer telling us never to delay administering adrenaline and I gave two shots of adrenaline. The swelling started to subside, and I prepped more adrenaline. At this stage emergency services were on speaker phone and I began setting up the defibrillator praying I would not have to use it. Thankfully emergency services arrived promptly, and they took over.”
Thanks to her training and decisiveness, the man survived.
Added Ms Knox: “As a pharmacist, I wanted to make a difference and help others. By administering the appropriate medical care to this passer-by, I made a vital, lifesaving intervention. The patient’s life was saved within two minutes. He would not have made it to A&E without pharmacists.” A&E is a term for Accident and Emergency, i.e. the emergency department.
We at SnackSafely.com applaud Ms Knox’s decisiveness and action. We urge states to enact good samaritan legislation that would allow pharmacists like Ms Knox and other trained individuals to administer epinephrine while shielding them from liability.