TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

February 21, 2013

Autoinjectors in schools


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — In January 2012, a 7-year-old child died in Virginia after a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, occurred at school. Unfortunately, the death likely could have been prevented if the school had been allowed to administer an epinephrine autoinjector, a device that is simple to administer and can help slow down or reverse the anaphylactic reaction.

At that time, it was against the law for a Virginia school to administer epinephrine without a prescription. However, in April 2012, the state passed legislation allowing school officials to administer epinephrine to students having an allergic reaction.

Kentucky is now trying to enact the same legislation. House Bill 172, sponsored by Rep. Addia Wuchner, a Burlington Republican, would allow schools to keep epinephrine autoinjectors on hand and administer them without a prescription.

This bill went before the House during the 2012 legislative session but was not acted upon due to time constraints. It is my sincere hope HB 172 will easily pass during this session of the legislature. In 2004 Kentucky led the way with passing legislation to allow children to carrying and use inhalers in school. We should also lead the way on this important issue.

Kentucky needs legislation that will implement the recommendations put forth in Congress’ 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act by requiring all Kentucky schools to keep epinephrine autoinjectors on campus and have an emergency plan ready if needed.

Every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department — that is about 200,000 emergency department visits per year.

More than 15 percent of school-aged children with food allergies have had a reaction in school. Protecting Kentucky children against a life-threatening medical emergency like anaphylaxis should never be a question; it should be something we do without question. I am in full support of House Bill 172, and hope that you are, as well.

J. Wesley Sublett, MD,

Louisville