Parents Back Bill to Put Epipens in Connecticut Schools

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    NEWSLETTERS

    "My daughter was diagnosed when she was four. She had eaten a peanut, and she started wheezing and had trouble breathing," said Jamie Kapel.Kapel's daughter Lindsey, now 15, carries a shot of Epinephrine, commonly known as an Epipen, everywhere she goes. (Published Monday, May 5, 2014)

    The clock is ticking with just two days left in this legislative session, and some parents are fighting for a bill they say could save lives at school.

    "My daughter was diagnosed when she was four. She had eaten a peanut, and she started wheezing and had trouble breathing," said Jamie Kapel.

    Kapel's daughter Lindsey, now 15, carries a shot of Epinephrine, commonly known as an Epipen, everywhere she goes.

    "It's something I think about every single day," said Lindsey. "Just every time I'm eating at a restaurant or eating at school."

    Lindsey and her mom are backing a proposed bill that requires all Connecticut public schools to stock Epinephrine and allow trained school personnel to administer it to students who have an allergic reaction.

    The issue received national attention after a 7-year-old girl from Virginia had an allergic reaction at school and died on the way to the hospital.

    "When somebody goes into shock from an allergic reaction, it can happen within minutes, and if it's not treated right away people can die very quickly from it," said Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist at Hartford Hospital and Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

    Johnson-Arbor says not giving someone Epinephrine when they have a severe allergic reaction is like witholding CPR. She calls the medication safe, describing the risk of accidental injection as minimal.

    "It will make your body have the higher heart rate, the high blood pressure, the sweating. It's kind of like getting a big shot of coffee if you will," said Johnson-Arbor.

    While students like Lindsey are equipped for a worst-case scenario, she believes every school should be just as prepared.

    "I just can't imagine that that should be a reason for a kid to lose their life," said Lindsey.

    The bill has already passed the House but needs to pass the Senate and be signed by the governor by Wednesday.

    The cost per school per year could run upwards of $350, but drug company Mylan says it has a program offering four free Epipens per year to any school in the U.S. through the end of next year.