Family of teen who died on street from nut allergy settles case against pharmacist

Mother had sought an EpiPen for 14-year-old daughter but did not have a prescription
Family of teen who died on street from nut allergy settles case against pharmacist

Emma Sloan mistakenly ate a sauce containing nuts in a restaurant.

The family of teenager Emma Sloan who died on O’Connell Street, Dublin, when she went into anaphylactic shock after mistakenly eating a sauce that contained nuts has settled a High Court action.

Emma’s mum Caroline Sloan had sued pharmacist David Murphy and the Hamilton Long Allcare Pharmacy on O’Connell Street where she had gone looking for an EpiPen but was allegedly refused because she did not have a prescription.

The 14-year-old later died of anaphylactic shock. EpiPens are used to treat people suffering from anaphylactic shock.

In the High Court on Monday, Ms Sloan’s counsel Gordon Walsh BL, with Mark Finan BL, said the €50,000 settlement was without an admission of liability.

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. 

He also noted a full defence had been filed in the action from both defendants.

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

Mental distress

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.

Caroline Sloan, Kilworth Road, Drimnagh, Dublin, had sued pharmacist David Murphy and Ballychem Ltd trading as Hamilton Long Allcare Pharmacy over the events of December 18, 2013.

Ms Sloan had brought the action on her own behalf and on behalf of Emma’s two sisters.

In an affidavit to the court, Ms Sloan said she along with Emma, her two sisters and aunt had attended a Chinese restaurant which at the time was on Eden Quay, Dublin. 

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

Emma suffered an anaphylactic reaction and her mother went to Hamilton Long Allcare Pharmacy on nearby O’Connell Street requesting an EpiPen.

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

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

It had been alleged he failed to respond adequately when declining to give Emma’s mother, Caroline Sloan, an EpiPen because she did not have a prescription for her daughter.

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