Should schools stock epi-pens?
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Thread: Should schools stock epi-pens?

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    Default Should schools stock epi-pens?

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Allergi...9#.TwX5VjUV2-5

    There was a discussion about this on a home school board I visit about this this AM. I was surprised at how people there's sole reason for home schooling was sever allergies.

    Is it the school's responsibility to make sure they have everything they would need in this situation or is it the parents responsibility?

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    I think they are both responsible. The school should not accept a student with out the medicine they need if they know they have a serious medical condition such as this and a parent should not send their child to a school without any necessarily medication.


    I do feel badly for any parent in this situation. It must be very scary to have a child that could have an allergic reaction at any time.

    ~Bonita~

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    Since schools are not allowed to give any medication without written parental consent I don't see how they would be able to use it even if they had it. They can't even give tylenol so how would they be authorized to use an epi-pen that isn't prescribed to a specific child?
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    Students should provide their own epi-pens and carry them with them at all times.

    However, I do think schools should keep one on hand in case an undiagnosed allergies presents during school hours.

    Those things are freaking expensive though. They sell them here for $100 and they expire after 1 year.

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    The responsibility is 100% squarely on the parents. The article says the mom claims that the school "refused to take [the] Epi-Pen," which I find hard to believe if she truly had a doctor's prescription for it and a medical care plan in place with the school. Schools are required to accept & administer any & all medications that a child needs. But if that's the truth, then she should have kept her child home until they accepted it. That's the only way to keep her child safe. At our school, if a child uses up their prescription medication from the office, they aren't allowed back at school until it's been replaced or there's a doctor's note saying it's no longer needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by kris_w View Post
    I do think schools should keep one on hand in case an undiagnosed allergies presents during school hours.
    And I completely disagree with this. Not only are the odds of an undiagnosed allergy presenting in a school-aged child pretty minimal, but I really do not want some untrained person at the school diagnosing my child with an "allergy" and giving her a shot of ephedrine. That in itself could create a different life-threatening situation on top of whatever ailment my child had to begin with. No, no, no, no no. Don't medicate her with something that can kill her if your diagnosis is wrong. If you think she's having an allergic reaction, and her reaction is mild, then you call a parent. If her reaction is serious, then you call 911. If she's not breathing, then you do CPR until the ambulance gets there. Unless you have an Epi-pen with her name on it, don't you dare give her one!
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    Quote Originally Posted by kris_w View Post
    Students should provide their own epi-pens and carry them with them at all times.

    However, I do think schools should keep one on hand in case an undiagnosed allergies presents during school hours.

    Those things are freaking expensive though. They sell them here for $100 and they expire after 1 year.
    I agree 100%.

    Stacey one of my best friends went out to dinner with me on her 30th birthday, had eaten shellfish all her life, had shrimp, and went into anaphlywhatever shock. She now is allergic to shellfish. How anyone can argue that spontanious reactions are impossible is beyond me. Do you consider school nurses "untrained"? Honestly if my kid is swelling into a ball of allergic death on the floor I could care less if the janitor sticks them while they are waiting for the EMT's to arrive.

    ETA: I see it as being completely reasonable that a kid may have an undiagnosed allergy, beyond even random sudden onset. Many kids may never have been stung by a bee. Many kids may not have had shellfish before they get it (or a sauce made with fish byproducts) at free lunch. To not have at least one epi pen would be irresponsible of a school, IMO.
    Last edited by Potter75; 01-05-2012 at 06:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Potter75 View Post
    I agree 100%.

    Stacey one of my best friends went out to dinner with me on her 30th birthday, had eaten shellfish all her life, had shrimp, and went into anaphlywhatever shock. She now is allergic to shellfish. How anyone can argue that spontanious reactions are impossible is beyond me. Do you consider school nurses "untrained"? Honestly if my kid is swelling into a ball of allergic death on the floor I could care less if the janitor sticks them while they are waiting for the EMT's to arrive.
    Until a school nurse (who is usually very underpaid and not always on call in every school) sticks a child with an EPI pen thinking it was an allergy and the child has an adverse reaction.

    It can't be a schools responsibility to be prepared with medication for every possible illness or medical emergency that might crop up. To hold the school responsible makes no sense. Does the parent carryan EPI pen with them everywhere in case their own child gets spontaneous allergy? I doubt it. Atleast I don't have one. So why would I expect a school to? I also don't carry a defibrelator for spontaneous heart arithmias or insulin for spontaneous blood sugar issues. A potential allergy is the same in my book.

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    Because a school is not responsible for just one (two ) child, but for hundreds, if not thousands, upping the odds that they may encounter a situation in which a child could die.

    Does the nurse have an RN or whatever behind her name? If so I would deem her qualified enough (for my kids, anyway) to attempt to save their life if they were literally facing death or unable to breathe. I would prefer that if they determine a situation to be anaphlyctic (i cant spell that) shock that they act, rather than watch my child die. I will defer to Kris as she is a nurse and probably knows eleventy billion times more than me about the "adverse reactions" possible from epinephedrine. I just don't know that I would worry too much about that if I saw a kids airway closing off.

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    I think that it should be provided by the parent and only given to that child. It is a medication. What if the child has an undiagnosed heart condition and that is misinterpreted as an allergic reaction? That child would be dead if given an epi pen. In our school system there are no nurses. Regular medications are given by an aid, secretary, or principal who may have a weekend course to provide for this part of their jobs, and epi pens and inhalers are kept in the classroom and the classroom teacher is given a 20 min 'course' on how to administer them, if that. I am a substitute, and have never been 'trained' on these things, my only experience was a 5 min crash course in a staff meeting when I was at a school long term. However, I do feel that because these medications are child specific and for acute cases, I would attempt to administer if needed (while yelling my head off for someone with more experience), and it is expected that I would do so. I would never give medication of any type to a child it wasn't prescribed to. I think alot more harm can be done then good.

    This case seems weird to me. Why would the school not take the epi pen. I almost suspect that this was an undiagnosed allergy (ie. no Dr) and that perhaps the epi pen wasnt in the girls name. That is speculation though, as we really dont have enough info. Every school I have been in has pictures of kids with allergies on the staffroom wall, along with the allergy, and the response expected, location of the epi pen or inhaler, etc. So it seems weird to me that they wouldn't have known about this girls allergy and done something sooner, assuming it was properly documented by the parents, and I do think that it is the parents responsibility to make sure that all the documentation is in order, and that their child's picture is on that wall, their specific teacher knows about it, etc.

    BTW, I am thinking young, elementary school students here. I know there comes a time, around middle school age, where students are expected to carry their own acute care meds with them, as they don't stay in one classroom for most of the day.
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    I think a child should be able to carry a home-provided epipen.

    I don't think the school has to provide one for 'just-in-case' spontaneous attacks. I don't have one at home for this purpose why should I demand the school have one?
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