Woman Saves Police Sergeant’s Life with Son’s EpiPen at Community Event


Sgt Ray O’Connor was playing football with kids at a community back-to-school event in Cleveland’s Fourth Police District when he was stung by two bees.

He told his partner, Officer Brooklyn Barnes, that he was deathly allergic to bee stings before he fell to the ground unconscious.

Barnes carried O’Connor to a nearby police cruiser where she began rendering first aid.

Epinephrine is the only drug that can halt and reverse the progression of life-threatening anaphylaxis, and those with allergies to a food, medication, insect venom or environmental substance must carry two epinephrine auto-injectors wherever they go. O’Connor, who normally carries epinephrine, had forgotten it that day.

Tomika Johnson, a resident who was volunteering at the event, witnessed the commotion and heard the word “allergic”. She asked: “Oh, I have an EpiPen… do you need an EpiPen?”

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Barnes replied that she did, prompting Ms Johnson to run to her home, which was close by, to retrieve her 10-year-old son’s epinephrine auto-injector.

Upon her return minutes later, Barnes administered the EpiPen to O’Connor before taking him to a nearby hospital. He was still unconscious when they arrived.

Medical staff at St Vincent’s said the prompt administration of epinephrine saved the sergeant’s life.

This Wednesday, O’Connor had the opportunity to thank Ms Johnson. Police learned about her son Zaire’s 10th birthday and brought him gifts and a $100 gift card to show the family their appreciation.

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Ms Johnson and her son will be recognized at Cleveland’s Fourth District Awards Ceremony on October 6 by receiving the city’s Citizen Award for their actions that day.

Here is a must-see news report of the incident with interviews from WKYC-TV:

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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