1492764164950 - Kapiti woman praises rescue helicopter service after antibiotic reaction

Kapiti woman praises rescue helicopter service after antibiotic reaction

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. 

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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 Shopping 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. 

“Looking back now … it was a life-threatening thing that happened. I didn’t think it was as bad as a huge car crash or something, but it was. 

“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. 

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