Pharmacists Save Lives Too

Last night was an incredibly busy day at the CVS where I work. It was only a 5-hour shift, but Mondays are always busy. From 8 to 10 PM, it was just myself and my pharmacist, but we were able to manage decently. It was a few hours before I was able to take a bite of dinner, or even go to the bathroom. But that's the life of community retail.

Around 8:30PM, a mother and her daughter approached the counter asking where the Benadryl was. Before pharmacy school, when it was busy and a patient asked me where something was, I would point them to the aisle and get back to my work. However, it seems that my way of thinking has changed completely from getting tasks accomplished, to maximizing health outcomes. 

We are taught in school systematic approaches to asking patients questions in order to extract the most appropriate information.

Me: Are you looking for tablet or liquid?
Mother: Probably liquid because my daughter says she is having trouble swallowing.
I turn to the daughter, and say: Do you feel like your throat is closing up?
Daughter: Yes
Me: Have you eaten anything recently? Or come into contact with anything foreign?
Daughter: I had something with peanuts.
Me: When did you eat it?
Daughter: About 5 minutes ago

It was at that point I immediately got the pharmacist to assess her. She was unaware she had any food allergy, but it was clear she was going through anaphylactic shock. We offered to call 911 for her, but she was refusing (some sort of psychological trauma from her past, when her grandmother died in an ambulance). Instead, we had her sit in the waiting room for about 20 minutes after she drank 4 tablespoons of Benadryl to monitor her status. 

We debated taking an EpiPen off the shelf to use for her, but my pharmacist wasn't quite sure because she wasn't aware she had any allergy at all. So instead, we called Urgent Care centers to see if they were still open. We found a couple and gave her the phone number/address, and they drove off. 

This may not sound as exciting to you all, but when I think about how I could have just told her where the Benadryl was and let her go off, she could have been in a very bad situation. 

Hey, pharmacists save lives too :) 


  1. Excellent, Erin! You will be one great pharmacist and we couldn't be any prouder!

  2. Awesome story, Erin! Seriously great critical thinking skills. I would be honored for you to be my pharmacist already!

  3. Oh wow !! That's a great story! It's so crazy when things like that happen cause then you just stop wonder "that happened for a reason?". Nice work, lady!


Thank you for reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts :)