Pharmacist Tanya Know (on right) with pharmacy owner Anna Kelly.

Pharmacist's swift action saves man's life

A local pharmacist saved the life of a passer-by when she administered adrenaline to a man who presented with life threatening anaphylaxis. Tanya Knox was working in Anna Kelly Chemist in Nenagh on Tuesday, November 26th, when a man came into the pharmacy with a severe rash and facial swelling. 
Ms Knox said the experience clearly shows the vital role pharmacists play in primary care, and said the Government, and in particular Minister for Health Simon Harris, need to start valuing the role of pharmacists: “Having received my qualifications in 2012, I was proud to have earned the title of pharmacist knowing it meant something profound in the community, said 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.” 
During the incident Ms Knox says she noticed straight away the man was experiencing a serious life-threatening allergic reaction. “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 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.” 
Ms Knox continued: “Pharmacists are open, accessible, trained and ready; and that man left the pharmacy alive. Over the years since qualifying I have become disillusioned and disheartened as to what being a pharmacist means. My role has been undervalued and undermined and pharmacists have passively accepted extra pressures imposed by the HSE and PSI.  
“The disillusionment of pharmacists has spread to both college graduates and students to such an extent there is a serious lack of pharmacists in the country. A lot of pharmacists are choosing other career paths and if things don’t change fewer pharmacists means fewer pharmacies, which means that man may have died.”