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Man saves stepmom’s life
Brandon White stands with his stepmother, DeAnna White, near the spot where he saved her life Sept. 10 with his quick actions, after she suffered a severe allergic reaction to bee stings.
FLORESVILLE -- Brandon White thought his afternoon was going to be spent helping his stepmom, DeAnna White, care for her peacocks. Instead, he saved her life.
DeAnna and Brandon, who currently works at Cycle Ranch, were working outside their home Sept. 10 when DeAnna experienced a reaction that would turn her stepson into a hero, she said.
The day was nice, so DeAnna began cleaning the peacocks’ watering pans. Sitting nearby was a piece of old watermelon, which contained bees. DeAnna said she threw a bucket of dirt onto the ripe fruit because the smell was so bad, not thinking of the bees.
“I’ve been stung by bees before and it hadn’t bothered me,” she said.
But this time was different for DeAnna, who suffers from a medical condition that leaves the left side of her body without normal sensation.
DeAnna was stung three times on her left side, and then a bee stung her on the right side of her neck, near the carotid artery.
Mandi Sralla, director of emergency services at Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville, said while only a small percentage of people experience a severe reaction, those who do may experience a life-threatening emergency.
And DeAnna experienced one.
She had Brandon remove the stinger from her neck, then noticed the other stings on her already-swollen hand. Shortly after, DeAnna started feeling itchy and sent Brandon to another part of the yard, about 200 feet away, so he would not see her discomfort.
“I didn’t want him to think I was a wuss,” DeAnna said.
However, within 10 minutes, she was in complete anaphylactic shock, unable to stand, call out for help, or even breathe. DeAnna said she remembered making two very important calls before passing out.
“I called 911 and my husband,” she said. “He said he heard me say, ‘EMS coming.’”
The next thing she remembers is Brandon, 25, yelling her name and using his only EpiPen on her leg.
Brandon, who is severely allergic to bee and wasp stings, said he was not scared to act.
“I had to act and do what needed to be done,” he said.
She was transported to Connally Memorial Medical Center by Wilson County Volunteer EMS, where DeAnna said the EMS technicians remained with her until she was admitted. They said she owed her life to Brandon.
Brandon not only sprained an ankle in the rush to DeAnna’s aid, but watched over DeAnna’s mother, who suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, while DeAnna received medical care. Brandon cared for the elderly woman until someone from CareGiver Solutions arrived.
Brandon said he felt like he had to help DeAnna, since she was in such a terrible condition. The EpiPen Brandon used was seven years old, and he was not certain if it would even work, he added.
“I wasn’t concerned for myself,” Brandon said. “I didn’t think she had 30 minutes to wait for the EMS, so I acted.”
Looking back, DeAnna said Brandon did the one thing he did not have to do.
“He gave me the one thing he needed in that situation,” DeAnna said. “And I’m his stepmother.”
She is very proud of Brandon’s actions, saying that five years ago he would not have taken the same action.
Brandon said he’s been working to turn his life around after some poor choices in the past.
Situations like DeAnna’s can be prevented with the correct precautions, Sralla said. The most important thing to remember, she said, is if someone has had a severe allergic reaction in the past, they should obtain an EpiPen from their primary-care physician.
EpiPen -- who should carry it?
The EpiPen is an injection device that is auto-injectable, disposable, and pre-filled with epinephrine. The medication relaxes the muscles in the throat, stomach, intestines, and bladder.
Those with a life-threatening allergy are at risk of an anaphylactic reaction and should carry an EpiPen. Allergies can include but are not limited to:
•Food allergies (peanuts, shellfish, eggs, milk)
•Insect stings or bites
•Certain health disorders, such as asthma and heart disease.
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