Can\'t believe school lost the epi-pen!!!!!!!

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I can't believe that my son's preschool lost his epi-pen! I filled out a special form and attached it to the pen. The director of his preschool assured me that it would be appropriate to put it on her cabinet in the office. Well, that was the FIRST DAY of school. Today, the LAST DAY I go to pick it up and it is not there. I asked the director about it and she said "Oh, are you sure you left one here?" "I don't remember anything about it. What does it look like?" At that point my insides just churned into a huge knot and I could not speak. I felt like throwing up. How long has it been missing? All along I had been feeling secure and then this. The day before yesterday the other mom with a PA son told me the director told her it was not necessary to leave her epi-pen since they had one already. (They don't, and if they did it was my son's) I really don't know what to do about this. School is over now but I wonder about my responsibility for PA kids that come next year and after. It is a co-op preschool and I was a board member. Maybe I should talk to the new board about this. I don't know. Any ideas? I guess next year for kindergarten I will have to have periodic checks to make sure the epi-pen is where it should be. I am so upset about this!

On Jun 13, 2001

Wow! Well for starters, it seems highly inappropriate for the director to have a "generic" EpiPen, available to inject into anyone who needs it. An EpiPen is available by prescription, and should only be used on the person it is prescribed for. Plus, if there are 2 PA children, there should be 2 EpiPens - what if they both react at the same time?! Lots of inappropriate handling of this situation.

Secondly, the EpiPen should be stored in a spot where you can periodically check to be sure it's still there. Cayley's preschool has a high-up, chained medicine cabinet, but you can open the door (without unlocking it) just enough to check that everything is where it should be. I would have a FIT if I was in your place.

You should definitely speak to the board members about this, and outline a plan to prevent this from happening again. How can they lose a life-saving device like an EpiPen?! Keep us updated on anything you decide to do. Good for you, thinking about the PA kids who haven't even enrolled yet - you may save a life! Good luck!

On Jun 14, 2001

I am very sorry to hear that this happened, and I can understand why you are so upset. I agree with everything Cayley's mom said, too. I think it would be good to compose a letter (when you feel calm and collected enough to do so) outlining what happened and why this was so terribly inappropriate. You could also mention the positive aspects your son got from the school, just to balance it. I would make it clear, in the letter, that you are hoping to save another child from harm (or even death) by asking them to change their policies. I would send a copy of this letter to all board members and the director. Good luck! Miriam

On Jun 14, 2001

I agree with the other posts. Losing the epi-pen is completely irresponsible! My PA son's is kept in the kitchen which is right next to his room. I check it periodically, and I also make the teachers get it for me periodically. (That way I can make sure that they know where it is.)

My daughter is six months old so they keep hers in her room. (She is severly allergic to milk; I haven't had her tested for peanuts yet.) I do the same with hers. I want to make sure that it is still good - that it doesn't get too hot or too cold, and I get paranoid about the expiration dates - even though I know what they are off the top of my head.

I would definitely have a talk with your daycare before next school season. I think that sharing epi-pens is also a legal issue since they are only available by perscription.

On Jun 14, 2001

I am a member of a coop preschool and I would feel really mad if this had happened to me.

I am surprised the teacher would treat the epi this way. I think it shows a real lack of understanding.

Yes, definitely go to the new board when you are a bit calmer. Present it as a storage of medication issue. Also, this is a prescription med. As far as I know all states have rules about where and how meds and other materials are kept in facilites where children are present, even in co-ops!

The epi-pen should be in a well marked container of some sort with emergency instructions and picture of your child attached. In my coop we used a bright orange zippered pencil case with a clear window. This was put in the kitchen (which is actually in the classroom in this case) in a high cabinet with kid lock above the first aid stuff. It also had a bottle of benadryl with a spoon and the emergency instructions were in it. There was a picure of my son on it. I do have to say the teacher forgot where she had put it once and had to ask me where it was, but that was like the first day after it was there. I did have to sign an advance permission slip, which was copied and in the bag also.

I think it's kind of hazardous to lose track of an epi in a room or rooms full of children, even it it doesn't hurt them, you don't want them to be playing with it!

On Jun 14, 2001

I am a member of a coop preschool and I would feel really mad if this had happened to me.

I am surprised the teacher would treat the epi this way. I think it shows a real lack of understanding.

Yes, definitely go to the new board when you are a bit calmer. Present it as a storage of medication issue and with lots of stroking about whats best for kids and what a wonderful time your son had there.

Also, this is a prescription med. As far as I know all states have rules about where and how meds and other materials are kept in facilites where children are present, even in co-ops!

The epi-pen should be in a well marked container of some sort with emergency instructions and picture of your child attached. In my coop we used a bright orange zippered pencil case with a clear window. This was put in the kitchen (which is actually in the classroom in this case) in a high cabinet with kid lock above the first aid stuff. It also had a bottle of benadryl with a spoon and the emergency instructions were in it. There was a picure of my son on it. I do have to say the teacher forgot where she had put it once and had to ask me where it was, but that was like the first day after it was there. I did have to sign an advance permission slip, which was copied and in the bag also.

I think it's kind of hazardous to lose track of an epi in a room or rooms full of children, even it it doesn't hurt them, you don't want them to be playing with it!

On Jun 14, 2001

If this school is state-licensed I think that the state has guidelines about storage of medication, which they would seem to be violating.

This is a pretty shocking story.

I would definitely bring it up with the new board, because this is a very serious issue.

On Jun 14, 2001

Your state should have an agency that governs daycares. This definitely warrants a complaint. Sometimes it takes an official complaint to wake people up and get them to understand. Your daycare is probably required to tell you the agency and their phone number.

On Jun 15, 2001

I think this is a lesson for all of us that we need to stay on top of these people - especially after Nathan's death. My son starts pre-school in September and I have the right to make a surprise visit whenever I want to and I plan to take full advantage of that right soooo add checking the school's epi pen to that list of things to check on that day. Also, the pharmacy usually puts the med. label on the EpiPen box, I was thinking when I get the pen for the school to have the pharmacy put the label right on the yellow tube. That way no one can mix it up with someone else's.

On Jun 15, 2001

Cindia, I have been in your shoes with an epi pen getting lost at school. Christopher was going on a field trip and I wanted to make sure that he was well prepared. I know that at the time he was 13 and,but I wanted to be the adult and make sure my child was protected. I called the school they assured me that he was all set. I went took my shower feeling better that a person had his epi-pen and was shore of how to and when to use it. Well I get out of the shower and get a call that they could not find my epi-pen and they had sent someone elses with him. Then the nurse said to me"if he gets stung by a bee they will know what to do". OK now I am ticked off,because he has gone one hour away from home and they think he is allergic to bees not nuts. They want us to trust them with our kids and they can not even remember nut from bees. Christopher handled the incident very well. He said to me " mom i will just tell them i got stung by a bee and they will at least treat me right". Sad part is he knows more than them. My doctor wrote them a letter about the ignorance,but still we don't have time for an adult to be absent minded. I wish you well. Claire

On Jun 29, 2001

Here's that thread, Natalie!! (Hope some of these ideas help)

On Jul 2, 2001

Thanks Corvallis Mom. Some of the suggestions were very helpful here. I particularly like the idea of a pencil case with a clear window and a picture of child on it.

I was also thinking myself, that the school should have had a system in place for signing in and out medications. I am thinking that the principal of the pre-school sounded as if she did not know that you had followed her instructions to place the Epi-Pen on the cabinet at the beginning of the school year. Perhaps such a scenario could happen to me with Kwanita's lost Epi-Pen. (See Lost Epi-Pen under Living with PA). And then we would have an argument as to who is really responsible if I have no real proof that the school had the pen. Of course, last week, the secretary remembered receiving it. But people do suddenly develop memory-loss.

I sit on the school council and intend to bring this to their attention at the first possible opportunity. A sign in/out sheet could save a lot of heartache and grief. And I believe that the school should also implement a system for checking on the meds in front of caregivers. I know that we are responsible ourselves to check on expiry dates, etc. And now, it seems that we have to make certain that the Pens don't get lost as well.

But I do believe that a system would save us the attitudes that may arise from staff that can become a little put-out by our constant checking.

I think for my own peace of mind, in future, I will also sign out the Epi-Pen each weekend and return it on the Mondays.

Natalie.

[This message has been edited by nkepe (edited July 02, 2001).]

On Jul 11, 2001

Here is a sugguestion for those mothers concerned about their Epi-pens. The Nursery School that I registered my PA child in told me that they were going to store his Epi-pen in a fanny pack and that one of the teachers would be wearing it all the time. I was very pleased with that....

On Jul 11, 2001

I am also worried about the school losing the epi-pen. My son starts kindergarden soon an I am putting it in a red pouch with his name and picture. I also ordered a t-shirt from Allergy Watch(I think it's allergywatch.com). The shirt I picked says please don't feed this child anything. I will have him wear that for field trips. They have ones that say peanuts or any food you want. I also bought stickers that say please don't feed this child anything.

On Jul 26, 2001

I just wanted to update the url in the previous post. I think the correct url is: [url="http://www.allergywatch99.com"]http://www.allergywatch99.com[/url]

Thanks for the pointer. Those stickers and pins look great.

Debbie

On Jul 27, 2001

Hi Cindia, I am so sorry to hear of their irresponsible behavior. Thank you for sharing this with us. It made me add an extra set of medications (2 more EpiPens Jr. and Children's Benadryl) to be kept at school.

[This message has been edited by Rhonda RS (edited March 03, 2002).]

On Aug 9, 2001

I just bought a clear make-up bag for my son's Epi Pens because I couldn't find a pencil case. This make-up bag is pretty sturdy, though. I've taped his picture to the inside and also his name and the statement "allergic to peanuts and tree nuts" so they can be seen from the outside. Now I just have to fill the bag - 2 EpiPens, Benadryl and dispenser, medical form, list of symptoms and emergency instructions. Have I missed anything?

On Aug 10, 2001

Hi Heather, Do you have an extra set of all the above mentioned items to keep at school, and back up keys to get get to them? Stay Safe, Rhonda

On Sep 10, 2001

The school said they need a doctor's note in order to keep and administer Benadryl to my son. I called the ped's office today and they said they won't give me a note because they want the epi administered even if it is a mild reaction.

Rhonda...Thanks for the suggestion. I left 2 EpiPens and 2 copies of the medical forms at the pre school, one for the classroom and one for the nurse's office. The director told me no one has ever left 2 EpiPens before. I said well, we always carry a back up since my brother's girlfriend has had 2 malfunction on her. She's going to check with the nurse and make sure they're allowed to have 2 on their premesis.

[This message has been edited by Heather (edited September 10, 2001).]

On Sep 10, 2001

I have seen another type of clear plastic bag that would work well (in addition to the nylon pencil cases with the clear window). At Office Depot or Staples (been everywhere the first week of school) there were clear, but heavy plastic zip bags called "cash deposit bags". These were more than a pencil case, but not large cost. What was even better from the school nurses point of view was that some of them had a ring on the zipper closure where you could put a little luggage lock. I was not so taken with that idea, but they felt it was more in keeping with the "educational code" which says medicines need to be locked up.

Another option we are looking into for the classroom is a clear acrylic lock box so the medication can be seen when in the room. I haven't found anything the right size yet. The teacher could lock the medicine bag(s) in the clear box, but remove to take to library, playground and computer lab with the class. I want it big enough for the bag, but small enough to grab for the emergency drills without unlocking. It needs to be clear so it can be seen and also be seen that it is not money and don't bother to steal it. Everyone is sure a cash box will "walk away" at some point.

On Aug 25, 2003

The last day of camp was last Thursday. They only sent home one EpiPen but I sent in two. I need those EpiPens to pass on to the school in 2 weeks so I went to the camp on Friday and don't you know, they couldn't find the extra EpiPen. I said "good thing it's not an emergency". The counselor said the dirctor knows exactly where the EpiPen is but she wasn't there on Friday. They'll have her call me. I'm not a happy camper!

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