Catholic schools in Cincinnati now allowing epi-pens

September 17, 2006 at 1:24 pm (Allergy News!, social issues)

Who in their right mind would NOT ALLOW LIFE-SAVING MEDICATION to be with a child who needs it?  What the hell were they thinking all this time???

Important read for those in the Catholic school community:

Peanut allergy prompts change in school rule
Student with peanut allergies allowed adrenaline shot
BY William Croyle
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON — A school that would not allow a boy who is allergic to peanuts to keep a shot of adrenaline on site has agreed to let him.

Jeffrey Downs, 11, is in sixth grade at Holy Family School. One day at school last spring Jeffrey bit a peanut. He spit it out immediately, but his body was already reacting.

“His cheeks swelled up and his chin turned purple and red,” his mother, Amy Downs, said. “He was swollen for a couple days.”

Downs knew her son was allergic, but until then, didn’t know how severely.

That prompted her to get a prescription for a couple of EpiPens, which carry a shot of adrenaline. When injected in the thigh of someone having an allergic reaction, the adrenaline can buy some time to get medical help.

Downs said that when school started this year, she asked to keep one there, but was told she couldn’t because of a school policy that prohibits needles.

“They were very sympathetic, but wouldn’t allow it,” Downs said. “But I was afraid if something accidentally happened again, his throat might close.”

That’s what happened to Emily Vonder Meulen about the same time Jeffrey had his reaction. The 13-year-old Delhi girl died April 13, about 20 minutes after eating a sandwich at a deli. The sandwich apparently accidentally contained a peanut, based on her blood stream.

Neither Emily nor her family carried an EpiPen.

After reading about Emily in an Enquirer story this past Sunday, the Downs family pressured Holy Family to allow the EpiPen. On Thursday, after consulting with Diocese of Covington officials, the school decided to allow it. School staff will be trained in how to administer it.

“These are life and death matters,” said Tim Fitzgerald, spokesman for the diocese. “When policies confront harsher realities, there have to be exceptions made.”

Several schools in the diocese allow EpiPens, including Holy Trinity; Mary, Queen of Heaven; St. Catherine of Siena; and St. Mary. Fitzgerald said that in the nine years Principal Polly Duplace has been at Holy Family, including seven as a teacher, this is the first request to keep an EpiPen at school.


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