HELP! school tried to give epi-pen when no reaction

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 1:52am
hapi2bgf's picture
Joined: 04/22/2004 - 09:00

What would you do?

My child is 6 and apparently having issues with the fact that she has a nut allergy. Normally she is great about her allergy.

She grabbed and ate a cupcake made on shared equipment in the classroom, when the teacher saw what she had done, ran her to the nurse. The nurse was trying to administer the epi-pen when she had no signs of a reaction. Why??

I know I have to go in and educate the school again, but what would you do? Obviously lecture the kid about not allowed foods again - she grabbed the cupcake "because it looked fine." But what about the school? How do you straighten this out. They were not even looking for signs of a reaction - just giving the epi-pen almost as a preventative.


Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 2:09am
Sarahfran1's picture
Joined: 12/01/2006 - 09:00

Shouldn't the nurse have orders from the doctor for the use of the epi-pen? Ours are very specific--what to look for and when to use the epi-pen or Benadryl. Under the circumstances you described, it might be reasonable to administer some Benadryl according to our plan.
I'm not sure what you mean by "trying to administer the epi-pen." Did someone stop her? Were they on the phone with you at the time? Did she have second thoughts? Did the epi-pen fail?
If I were in this situation, I'd talk to the teacher about not allowing access to any foods that are questionable. Seriously, why did your DD even come within arms' length of these cupcakes? That would be my real concern. For the epipen, I'd just ask the nurse if she didn't understand the doctor's orders and maybe she'd like to talk to the doctor to have them clarified. If you don't have a written protocol in place, you need to get one.
But overall, except for the incident that led to the trip to the nurse, I wouldn't be terribly worried--getting epinephrine administered when you don't need it isn't a horrible thing (my DD gave herself an accidental injection last summer) and is WAY better than the alternative of having a nurse who hesitates to give epinephrine when it IS indicated.

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 2:13am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Perhaps you don't know this, but if your child has ever had a very severe anaphylaxis episode, this [i]is[/i] the recommended course of action.
(To use EPI prophylactically when a suspected ingestion occurs, that is.)
I certainly sympathize with your daughter's desire to eat what looks wonderful, but her behavior was the problem here, IMO, [i]NOT[/i] the school's immediate response to it.
If the cupcake HAD contained peanuts as a hidden ingredient, they might well have saved her life by not waiting to see what happened.
The bigger question in my mind is how such a thing happened to start with-- why was your daughter able to reach out and grab a cupcake she should not have had, and then, before action was taken, [i]consume it??[/i]
At the very least, it sounds like preventative measures in place need some work. Are her classmates educated about her allergy? If not, it might be a good idea to work on 'no food sharing' as a part of food allergy awareness on the part of her peers.

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 2:24am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

At 6, is your child being asked to trust a lot of people to read labels and judge food safety for her? If so, it might be time to examine that policy and see if that is making it hard for her to understand 'the rules' about what foods have been properly approved and which have not.
It sounds like she made her own judgement about 'safety' here instead of deferring to an adult. Is it that she is used to a variety of people handing her 'safe' food? Might she be confused about the rules? Who is it okay to accept food from? Is she supposed to decide whether or not it is safe to trust a particular adult's decision about food safety? If so, it might help her to have simpler rules about what is okay for her and what is not. At least until she's older.
As I said, though-- the scarier thing is that there was unsafe food in her environment with inadequate supervision regarding it. Asking her to 'know better' may not be entirely appropriate for her developmental age. She [i]is[/i] only six, after all. Her impulse control may just not be up to the task. Particularly if she doesn't understand the consequences very well.

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 2:44am
saknjmom's picture
Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

I agree with Corvalis Mom...from age 4 (time of diagnosis) my son would not touch, eat or accept ANY food that he had not asked the adult to read the label or that one of his parents hadn't approved.
You have to educate your child how to manage her allergies. That there are rules for food, this is very important.
You have to empower your child to make decisions about eating and teach her in a way that she doesn't become afraid...when the rules are clear, I feel that children are less likely to be afraid of food etc.
I don't know what to think about the nurse trying to give the epi pen...why did she stop, can you offer more details about this?

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 2:57am
hapi2bgf's picture
Joined: 04/22/2004 - 09:00

She is 6 and very well behaved, which is no doubt part of the problem today. Her behavior today in unheard of for her - grabbing food, not asking if it was safe first, unheard of for her. Her teacher is her classroom contact to check foods. She has a safe snack bag in the class. She brought a safe snack for the party today. She just wanted to be like everyone else for the party. Sucks to be different and it sucks to have food allergies.
She tells everyone about her allergy. She asks adults about the labels. She tells aunts and uncles who offer food that they need to talk to her mom first and then she brings them to me. Overall, I could not ask for a better child when it comes to dealing with her allergy.
However, she is apparently having issues with allergies and other people having different allergies at home. We have a new food allergy that is limiting our food choices and she is having a hard time adjusting. Several comments have come up recently - including last night - about wishing she was allergic to something else...
I understand what happened in the classroom. Yes, teacher needs tighter control about the food. Yes, the child needs to follow the rule about food. She broke the rule. She grabbed unauthorized food and ate it. It is a shared facility item - cupcake. She did not have a reaction. I do not allow her to eat shared equipment foods. She knows this.
The nurse has an emergency plan from the doctor. It was not used. The plan is Benedryl for this type of problem, epi-pen for allergic reaction, then call 911, then call parents. So the emergency plan was tossed out the window today.
Heck the whole discussion about allergies and food rules and general behavior went out the window today. But, I am not at the hospital with her and she is fine, so life is good. We just need to clear up the process so next time we follow the emergency plan.
I really would like opinions about this episode so I can have a better idea of what to talk to the school about tomorrow.

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 3:05am
saknjmom's picture
Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

But, what kept the nurse from administering the epi pen?

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 3:20am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Ahhhhhhhh... I see.
So the teacher is [i]depending upon her[/i] to consistenly behave in a manner which is habitually more mature than her peers.
The problem was that she didn't. In this case, she behaved EXACTLY like most six year olds. [img][/img]
I know [i]precisely[/i] what that is like. BTDT.
Time to remind the teacher that your daughter is NOT ten. She's six. While she may [i]act[/i] more like a 10 yo w/r to her allergy [i]most[/i] of the time.... this incident shows very well why it is not very responsible of the adults she's with to [i]assume[/i] that she will. Which is the fundamental reason why she was [i]able[/i] to do what she did.
I'm sorry for your daughter. My daughter also has periods like this... where she feels deeply resentful and defiant about the differences between herself and her peers. Sometimes it helps her to hear that I understand how she feels and that she can [i]feel[/i] any way she wants to-- as long as she doesn't turn those feelings into inappropriate actions. This is a work in progress at our house, too. [img][/img] I have to remind myself that my child is NOT as old as her behavior would often indicate.
I must say, I can see how resisting a lovely bakery cupcake must have felt cruel and grosssly unfair to her. Just too much, you know?
{{hugs}} to both of you.

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 4:02am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Did the nurse actually administer the epi-pen? I read she was 'trying', but what did the nurse actually do?
How scary for your daughter that the nurse showed confusion about what to do.
I think this is right on: [b]So the teacher is depending upon her to consistenly behave in a manner which is habitually more mature than her peers.[/b]
This exact scenario happened to my DD is 5th grade. She ate a "may contain" food that she thought the teacher had approved, but hadn't. The food wasn't even supposed to be in the classroom. When the teacher realized what happened, she marched Mariah down to the nurse who immediately gave her benedryl. Not terrible, but that's [b]not [/b]what our plan stated. My daughter was very upset on several levels, and we ended up having a few meetings with staff to address it all.

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 7:02am
hapi2bgf's picture
Joined: 04/22/2004 - 09:00

Let me clarify. The teacher called me from the nurses office. Explained that the nurse was about to administer an epi-pen. Without reason or signs of a reaction I told them to stop. She is not as severe as some other kids. She does not have contact or smell reactions she never even had a second reaction, but she is allergic and anaphylactic. Her first reaction was anaphylactic and it was years ago.
Part of my problem is I was told they did not have benedryl for her. Later when they called back they did have her benedryl. It was supplied in the beginning of the school year. .they gave her the benedryl.
Our emergency plan states: benedryl for this type of problem. Possible ingestion/cross contamination problems. Epi-pen and 911 for active anaphylactic reaction.
Yes we have some issues to address with the child and the school. Just a little upset that the school seemed so flustered and unsure about what to do. Why were they on the phone with me? Should have been talking to 911 if they had the epi-pen out. Why did they not follow the plan and give the benedryl first? why was I told they did not have benedryl for her?
days like this just make having kids with these allergies a nerve wracking experience.
And I am sorry to say this but I am mad that my daughter broke the rule and ate the food. She knew what she was doing. She explained it to me. I am mad today. She risked a lot and unfortunately she will do it again because nothing bad happened. So today life changed again - new rules.
And yes, days like today are why you carry and epi-pen even if your kid is good about their allergy and even if they have not had a reaction in years.
Thanks for the comments and advice

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 7:22am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I am [i]totally[/i] sympathetic--
I've been plenty mad at my daughter too!!
Even when I [i]know[/i] my expectations are soooo not age-appropriate... we have those expectations for a reason, you know? She sometimes just [i]has[/i] to be that responsible.
I also find that some of that anger is misplaced frustration at the world I inhabit being such a place that the adults I know can't be trusted as much as my little girl.... ugh. Makes me want to stomp my feet too. [img][/img]
[i]What? You're too STUPID to get it??? Or is that just 'too lazy to bother?' So my kid has to have the critical thinking skills of a college professor to make up for YOU??? She's supposed to anticipate all the crazy cr@pola you might not think about.... Who's robbing who of a childhood????[/i]
So some of my anger is invariably misplaced on my daughter. ( But not all.)
Anyway.... ranting over-- I definitely feel your pain. And I agree that I would definitely want to know why your physician's plan wasn't followed, and why the HECK they thought [i]calling YOU[/i] was the thing to do???
Maybe your 6yo is supposed to remind them not to do so if she needs EMS??? [img][/img] LOL.


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