New Law Helping Kids with Health Concerns at School

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 10:39am
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August 23rd, 2006 @ 4:05pm
Ed Yeates Reporting

Kids with health problems are starting school this year with a new law that protects them and the schools, should they need help. It's a clear victory for some, but an ongoing battle for others.

Kids needing medical devices or a syringe to inject a life saving medication are taking them to school now, no longer breaking the law. Schools can step in and help without fear of liability.

Ten-year old Charlie Christensen treats his diabetes with an implanted insulin pump. In the past, if the pump failed the school could only call 911, even though the boy carries Glucagon for emergencies.

Theresa Christensen, Charlie's Mom: "Usually, by the time he's at that point where he needs the glucagon, he's not able to swallow, he's not able to communicate, he could be unconscious."

But Senate Bill 8 changes all that. What it means now is Charlie, or any of his peers with a health problem, can self medicate or someone in the school can intervene and give the child a shot, and now it's all legal.

In good faith, soon to be trained teachers and other school personnel will give the shots. It offers peace of mind, not only for mom and dad, but kids like Charlie, as well.

Charlie Christensen: "Knowing that they can actually do something now to help if my pump is not working."
In Bountiful, five-year old Isaac Parry carries an emergency syringe in his backpack for anaphalatic shock. The boy has a life threatening food allergy to nuts. His scenario is all too familiar.

Isaac Parry: "She just called the ambulance, then I can't remember much after that."

While Senate Bill 8 is a victory for the Christensens, the Parry family's worries are far from over. On its own, the Jordan District has eliminated all nut products from its school cafeterias. The Davis Disctict, where Isaac lives, has eliminated some, but still allows the use of peanut protein.

Becky Parry, Isaac's Mom: "Issac's allergy is just so severe, you know, if he touches some sort of peanut protein and rubs his eyes, he's in the ambulance, which we've done before."

While Senate Bill 8 may speed up emergency shots for Isaac if he gets in trouble, it doesn't address the food issue. The Christensens want the Davis district and others to mirror Jordan and remove ALL peanut related products from their school menus.

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