Illinois Epinephrine Bill Sparked by Student's Deadly Allergic Reaction

The death of a seventh-grade student in Chicago who suffered an allergic reaction after a classroom party has led to a bill now waiting for the governor's signature. The bill would allow school nurses to administer epinephrine injections even in cases where the student had not previously been diagnosed with an allergy.

13-year-old Katelyn Carlson died of anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction, after a December party at which she ate food that had been cooked with peanut oil. The allergic reaction was not treated with a shot of epinephrine, which could have potentially reversed the symptoms by opening airways, improving blood circulation, and counteracting swelling.

She had never been diagnosed with a food allergy, and therefore school nurses were not legally allowed to inject her with the allergy medication. By law, Illinois schools can dispense prescription medications, such as epinephrine, only when the student's doctor has prescribed it, the parents have supplied the drug to the school, and the student's medical plan lists the medication. Because her health plan did not list epinephrine, school officials could not give Katelyn the the medication.

Under the proposed bill, school nurses would be able to administer epinephrine injections to any student who the nurse believes is experiencing an anaphylactic reaction. The injection will be allowed even if the student's medical file does not list epinephrine or a previous diagnosis of food allergies.

What do you think? Should school nurses be able to administer epinephrine shots to any student who is potentially experiencing a serious allergic reaction? Read more about the issue here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-cps-school-allergy-b...

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