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Quick-thinking pharmacist saves customer

CBS News logo CBS News 4/21/2017
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An Illinois man has a local pharmacist to thank for thinking fast when he ran into her store experiencing an allergic reaction.

Mark Davey, 57, said he was having a meal when the symptoms hit.

“As I’m eating lunch, my tongue starts to swell up, and I think something really bad is about to happen,” he told CBS Chicago’s Dana Kozlov.

“I was scared. I thought, this is how I go,” said Davey.

He had never experienced a food allergy before but as he began gasping for air, he knew he needed help. So, he drove himself to a nearby CVS for Benadryl, an over-the-counter allergy medicine, where pharmacist Bhavini Patel took one look at him and called the paramedics. Then she gave him an EpiPen shot, an injection of epinephrine, a synthetic version of adrenaline used to reverse the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.

Epinephrine is fast-acting, said Chicago-area paramedic Victor Arlis, who helped treat Davey. The pharmacist’s action probably saved Davey’s life, he told CBS News.

“By the time we got there, the state he was in, he could have gone down the drain really quickly,” Arlis said.

Patel told CBS Chicago by phone that she knew exactly what was happening when Davey came in and was glad she could help.

Davey now carries an EpiPen everywhere he goes. 

The incident is a reminder that food allergies can arise at any time, paramedic Arlis said. If you suspect you’re having an allergic reaction, it’s best to call 9-1-1 right away, he advised.

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