Almost a year ago, Sinn Féin councillor Kenneth Flood joined with Caroline Sloan, mother of 14 year old Emma who died after suffering anaphylactic shock in Dublin the previous year, to hand in a petition with over 115,000 names under the ‘Emma’s Voice’ campaign.
The campaign was started following the tragic death of the teenager to raise awareness of anaphylaxis and Epipens, which contain the life-saving drug to treat anaphylaxis.
Councillor Kenneth Flood said “Minister Leo Varadkar committed to big changes within six months which included educating and providing more information on EpiPens and making them more freely available with people trained in how to use them. Nine months later and nothing has changed. In fact, the situation has deteriorated because now the 26 counties is experiencing a severe shortage of the much needed medicine.”
The Louth Councillor continued “Since Emma Sloan tragically died, more than 140 children have been diagnosed with severe and potentially fatal anaphylaxis in the State. Those 140 children, plus the many more previously diagnosed and the countless others currently un-diagnosed are at risk without access to these essential epipens.”
In March, backed by Emma Sloan’s Mother, Caroline, there were submissions as to exactly what needed to happen. The submission made by Cllr Flood made the following recommendations:
1) The Food Safety Authority add allergy information to all training courses and include training on the use of (epinephrine)Auto-Injectors in all courses.
2) How to recognize and treat Anaphylaxis attacks and the use of (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors be included in all Occupational First Aid FETAC/QQI level 5 certification and above courses.
3) Introduce legislation, that allows (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors to be stored in schools and other public places in the event of an emergency. Making them mandatory in restaurants and other places where the public consume food or congregate in large numbers. (Similar to defibrillators.)
4) To run a rolling public awareness campaign, including internet, tv and print adverts to highlight all aspects of recognizing and treating Anaphylaxis.
5) On diagnosis of Anaphylaxis have all allergy sufferers supplied with allergy unique ID cards/Bracelets.
6) To develop a phone app that can help you keep track of which allergens you and your family need to avoid, where (epinephrine) Auto Injectors are located and when they expire, emergency contact information, etc.
7) To ensure allergy testing is available in every primary care unit in Ireland.
Councillor Flood called on the Minister to “stop dragging your feet on this issue. The promised legislation and changes must be introduced and all steps taken to ensure that there is an adequate supply of epinephrine Auto-Injectors in Ireland. These epipens are life-saving and immediate.”
“I have asked our TD and Party leader to submit a series of PQ’s in relation to the supply of these drugs. I was concerned when I learned about the lack of supply of the BCG vaccine but not to have a supply of Epipens is just irresponsible and dangerous.”