Drive-Through Rescue

She’s been on the job a year, but she’s already saved a life. Kristin Von Flatern Pharm.D. ’14 has worked at a Cape Cod pharmacy since she graduated. The day after Christmas, the Sunderland, Mass. native was behind the counter on a quiet day at work. Then, she overheard another staff member talking to a drive-through customer.

“I could hear the urgency in her voice as he told her he was in anaphylactic shock,” Von Flatern recalls.

The customer was asking for an EpiPen, an auto-injector that provides a dose of epinephrine, a medication that treats life-threatening allergic reactions.

EpiPens are not sold over the counter, so she grabbed one, then entered the customer’s name in the computer to research potential drug interactions. She opened the package, and handed the device out the drive-through window.

“I could see that his skin was red, his lips and face were swollen, and I asked him if he wanted me to administer it to him, and he said yes,” she says. “I could see he was struggling, and then I saw the relief in his face when I told him I would help.”

Von Flatern hopped on the counter and out through the drive-through window and into the parking lot, since that was the fastest way to get to him. As she administered the EpiPen, a staff member called 911. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he recovered fully.