Kristi's Kids

May 29, 2013 2:09 AM by Kristi Tedesco

Debate over EpiPens in schools

TUCSON - We have an update on pending legislation that could save your child's life.

Senate Bill 1421 would pave the way to put auto-injectable epinephrine, or EpiPens, in more Arizona schools and classrooms.

Kristi's Kids told you about this bill in March, but now we're hearing, the bill has stalled.

This, as allergy outbreaks continue to rise.

Bianca Molina is 4-years-old.

"She's allergic to dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shell fish, fish. All meats: chicken, beef, pork," says Miriam Molina, her mother.

Bianca goes to preschool at the Ocotillo Learning Center where she's had an anaphylactic reaction.

"Throwing up, and started getting hives all over and breathing funny."

Bianca has an EpiPen in the nurse's office. It was used that day, but one wasn't enough.

"Within minutes it crashed down again so they gave her the school's Epi."

Severe reactions like Bianca's are on the rise.

"It ranges from hives, which is what I see the most are hives," explains Allison Thomas, the School Nurse at Ocotillo. "General stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea. And then the most severe would be difficulty breathing."

Kristi's Kids collected the numbers from our school districts:

Last year at C.D.O. a student with no history of food allergies went into shock.

That patient was given Benadryl and rushed to the hospital. In the Amphi District,122 students keep EpiPens on campus.

In Vail, EpiPens have been used twice since 2010, for severe reactions to food. Both students were transported to the hospital.

A third was transported after reacting to a bee sting.

TUSD reported 6 anaphylactic reactions in 2009/10. It jumped to 11 in 20011/12 and another 10 this academic year.

3 students have suffered anaphylaxis in the Sunnyside District.

310 students have known food allergies and 78 are allergic to bees.

Epinephrine is kept on hand in many school nurses' offices. SB 1421 could change that.

"This is a bill that's very, very important to this state, to saving children's lives," says Sen. Linda Lopez.

She introduced the bill. It would give Samaritan protections to the schools and training, for the staff.

So why the delay?

"There's not an objection to the bill itself. It's caught up in the political process."

Sen. Lopez worries while lawmakers debate Medicaid and the budget, SB 1421 won't make it to the Governor by session's end.

That could leave a local child without life-saving medicine.

Several states have already passed similar legislation.

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