Your opinion on new EpiPen law?

We’ve written a lot this week about a new law allowing epinephrine autoinjectors for general use in schools.

Students known to be prone to severe allergic reactions, or anaphylaxis, have been able to bring one of the devices (one brand name is EpiPen) to school. The new law allows districts to maintain a stock of autoinjectors not assigned to individual students for use on playgrounds, buses and field trips, and for undiagnosed students having a first-time reaction.

Doing so is option for school districts. But those who choose to stock EpiPens should also train and authorize nonmedical staff, like bus drivers and playground attendants, to administer them to students in an emergency, the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction said this week. OSPI’s report, which came out Wednesday, offers guidelines and recommendations, not requirements and edicts. But local districts are looking to state officials for guidance.

If you have a child with a severe food or other allergy, or if you work at a school, we invite you to take a poll at homepage about whether you think staff members other than school nurses should be trained to give epinephrine injections.

OSPI Epinephrine Recommendations

2 thoughts on “Your opinion on new EpiPen law?

  1. I have a severe allergy and carry an Epipen, though I have been fortunate to never have needed to use it.

    If anyone (child or adult) was having a severe allergic reaction, I would have no hesitation to act as a good Samaritan and offer up my Epipen and accept the risk of legal consequences rather than stand by and watch someone die. I would hope that others would do the same if I (or someone I love) were in peril.

    I think it is a good idea for schools to have these on hand just like they have other emergency gear (defibrillators, first aid supplies, etc) . The likelihood of having to use it is slim (just like I’ve carried one for 10 years and never needed to use it). However, when the need does arise, it can mean the difference between life or death. If it were my child suddenly fighting for his/her life and breath, I would be eternally grateful.

    All that being said, I acknowledge we live in a litigious society. I would hope the good Samaritan law extends to school employees who are faced with such an emergency situation.

  2. Kathryn – The law holds harmless nurses and designated school personal who in good faith administer EpiPens to previously diagnosed students. It also allows nonmedical school employees to opt out of being authorized to give the treatment without consequences to their job.

    The issue of whether and how nonmedical staff should be trained and authorized to treat first-time reactions — including any liability or protection from liability — is yet to be determined. So, although OSPI says in general it’s a good idea, the details are yet to be worked out.

    Chris Henry, reporter

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