Vee must haff your peppers

Via Instapundit, we have a chronicle of the absurd: a student is denied access to a prescription inhaler during an asthma attack because his parents didn’t sign a form.

School leaders called Sue Rudi when her son started having trouble breathing. She rushed to the office and was taken back to the nurse’s office by school administrators and they discovered the teen on the floor.

“As soon as we opened up the door, we saw my son collapsing against the wall on the floor of the nurse’s office while she was standing in the window of the locked door looking down at my son, who was in full-blown asthma attack,” Rudi said.

Michael Rudi said when he started to pass out from his attack, the nurse locked the door.

The Blogfather quips, “I’m beginning to think that sending your kids to public schools is starting to look like parental malpractice.”

Apparently no one even bothered to call 911.


  1. Schools treat kids as incompetent and/or untrustworthy, but many/most kids can self-medicate appropriately at young ages. One of mine was severely allergic to poison ivy and was entirely capable of taking his prednisone independently and one of his teammates was testing his blood and injecting himself with the appropriate dose of insulin – and they were both 10, at most. I also remember swimmers with asthma using inhalers appropriately. For young elite athletes, sore muscles were routine but coaches specifically taught them signals that their discomfort was not just from a hard workout and should be professionally evaluated. Naturally, having ipuprofin in their gear bags at school was illegal, but I remember a coach coming into practice, at a middle school, with a sore back and asking if anyone had any and every single one of the 24+ swimmers pulled out their supply. This was, of course, in addition to the supply of antibiotic and analgesic ear drops most carried – otitis externa isn’t called swimmers’ ear by accident and serious competitive swimmers can diagnose it as accurately as their doctors. Unless there is reason to suspect misuse, a simple note from the doctor (for prescription meds) or parent stating that kids can take X when needed should suffice.

  2. Cranberry says:

    It would be a good idea to pass a law exempting prescribed inhalers from school permission paperwork. Make it illegal for school personnel to confiscate an asthmatic’s inhaler. Require school personnel to call 911 if a child is having an asthma attack which doesn’t resolve itself after using a rescue inhaler.

    I think Michael Rudi should ask the DA to charge the nurse and administration with attempted murder. Children have died at school from asthma attacks.

    • Sean Mays says:

      While you’re at it, include EpiPens.

      • Cranberry says:

        Our local schools, public and private, have trained teachers and staff to recognize the signs of anaphylaxis. Staff members carry EpiPens at lunch and on field trips. A student’s who’s old enough and responsible enough to self-administer his EpiPen can carry it with him through the day.

        So, to me, there isn’t a need to require the schools to do the sensible thing, because they already do the sensible thing. They also can administer EpiPen injections to children who haven’t been diagnosed with lethal food allergies, if they’re about to die. Seconds can count with anaphylaxis.

        An allergic child may not be in any condition to self-administer an EpiPen. Thus, it’s essential that all staff, including bus drivers, know what to do.

        An asthmatic child can usually self-administer his rescue inhaler, if he recognizes the signs of an asthma attack–and has access to his medication.

        • Lightly Seasoned says:

          Right, among other things, we review epis, inhalers, etc. at the beginning of the year — as well as whatever specific issues are showing up in my classroom, like heart problems, seizures, whatever. I love how one stupid nurse paints all schools as evidence of parental malpractice.

          • It wasn’t just one stupid nurse–it sounds like at least one administrator (maybe more) was involved.

  3. Don’t forget epipens!

    When we lived in DC, our public school’s rule was that only the nurse administered medications. Well, the nurse was half-time. Also, the nurse didn’t go on field trips. I never asked (because it wasn’t personally relevant), but how the heck was that supposed to work for asthmatics and allergic kids, not to mention diabetics?

  4. I was given to understand that the legal test for these things is what the prudent person would do. The prudent person would give the kid his inhaler. Seems to me this school has just made a lawsuit for themselves, not to mention possible neglect charges for the adults involved. I hope the student recovered and the school district at least had the grace to pay for emergency room expenses.