Should California teachers be allowed to administer Diastat, a life-saving medication, to epileptic children? These days few schools have a nurse on campus. Reason.TV’s take is titled Union Jobs vs. Children’s Lives: Which side are you on?
As the father of a child whose allergies require her to carry an Epi-Pen at all times, Mark Hemingway sympathizes with the parents of epileptic children who need immediate access to Diastat. He writes in the San Francisco Examiner:
Like my daughter’s EpiPen, Diastat comes in a specially packaged syringe designed to be easily administered with little or no medical training. That’s because it usually has to be administered before an ambulance can arrive. The medication was administered by nonmedical personnel in California schools for more than 10 years, before the California Nurses Association abruptly changed its policy last year.
However, the Epilepsy Foundation, California Medical Association and the Association of California Neurologists supported the bill. The only real opposition came from teachers unions, which made sure the bill never emerged from committee.
I suppose the union’s theory is that disability law will force schools to hire a full-time nurse to administer Diastat if an epileptic child enrolls. Otherwise, epileptic children wouldn’t be able to attend school without risking their lives.
I carried an EpiPen on trips for awhile after a bizarre tongue-swelling incident — never explained — that sent me to the emergency room barely able to breathe. Jabbing yourself with a preloaded syringe is easy — if you’re not having an epileptic seizure.