‘It could have been my last day alive’

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - ADAM POULOPOULOS

It was a reg­u­lar Sun­day morn­ing, and Kapiti woman Sa­mara Shaw took amox­i­cillin, an an­tibi­otic for her cold.

Twenty min­utes later, she ap­peared sun­burnt and was strug­gling to breathe, won­der­ing if she was go­ing to die.

The Para­pa­raumu mother has spo­ken about go­ing into ana­phy­lac­tic shock, ahead of the Life Flight Street Col­lec­tion next month.

She was taken by Life Flight’s West­pac Res­cue He­li­copter to Welling­ton Hospi­tal, where she was sta­bilised and re­leased later that evening.

Two months later, she saw the he­li­copter staff who helped save her life.

‘‘It was very hum­bling. I gave them lots of hugs,’’ she said.

‘‘I know a cou­ple of other peo­ple who have used the ser­vice ... you never know when you are go­ing to need them.

‘‘They were calm, they ex­plained what they were go­ing to do, they looked af­ter me and mon­i­tored me the en­tire way in.’’

Septem­ber 13, 2015 started nor­mally for Shaw and her fam­ily, but 10 min­utes af­ter tak­ing the an­tibi­otics, she was itchy all over her body, and started to sneeze.

Her mother drove her to Team Med­i­cal, an ur­gent care fa­cil­ity at Para­pa­raumu’s Coast­lands Shop- ping Cen­tre.

‘‘At that stage I was bright red, and I was find­ing it hard to breathe,’’ she said. ‘‘I think I said to the doc­tor: ‘Am I go­ing to die?’’’

As Shaw was loaded into the he­li­copter, a para­medic had to hold her be­cause she couldn’t stop shak­ing. ‘‘And as hap­pens when it ar­rives, ev­ery­one came out and watched,’’ she said.

She had a se­vere al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to amox­i­cillin, de­spite hav­ing con­sumed it sev­eral times be­fore with no ad­verse ef­fects. Doc­tors dis­cov­ered she had de­vel­oped an al­lergy to all peni­cillin, and she now wears a med­i­cal bracelet.

Shaw works at Kapiti Coast Dis­trict Coun­cil, across the road from Team Med­i­cal.

She can see the he­li­copters come and go.

‘‘We’re very lucky to have the ser­vice, so we should give them money to help do their job.’’

She said the in­ci­dent made her take stock of her life.

‘‘It could have been my last day alive ... it makes you live life to the fullest and squeeze your chil­dren tighter.’’

The Life Flight Street Col­lec­tion will be held on Fri­day, May 5 in Kapiti, and the rest of the Greater Welling­ton re­gion.

SUP­PLIED

Sa­mara Shaw vis­its the Life Flight air res­cue cen­tre.

ADAM POULOPOULOS

Sa­mara Shaw, cen­tre, with Team Med­i­cal staff mem­bers Fi Skinner and Sarah White, who were both work­ing when the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

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