What would you do?

Posted on: Fri, 04/21/2000 - 8:16am
ColleenMarie's picture
Joined: 03/04/2000 - 09:00

Something I've been wondering about -

Have any of you considered what you would do IF you were in public and carrying your child's Epipen when a nearby stranger's child had his/her first anaphylactic reaction to food. What I mean is this: what if the parents didn't yet know the child was severely food allergic and therefore didn't have an Epipen?

Would you offer to take control of the situation? ANd if the parents asked you to step in and give the Epipen (since they would be scared and probably in awe of someone who could actually be knowlegeable of what is going on and possibly able to save their child's life), would you?

Even we are sometimes (all the time?) scared of needing to give the shot to our children - Can you imagine a parent experiencing this without ANY knowledge?

Legally, what are the implications? If you could be sued, would you still take the risk?
I feel certain that I would risk it, but I'm curious to hear if any of you see this differently.

I have thought about this before but got worried today when I was visiting our local children's museum with my son. The place was packed and an ambulance arrived - I finally saw that it was a middle-aged gentleman who needed medical attention and that it was not allergy-related. But what if it had been a child reacting to food (or a bee sting) and we had been standing right there as it happened?

I feel 99.9% sure that I would get totally involved since I believe in the Golden Rule and it would certainly apply in such a situation, wouldn't it!? Still, I wanted to see what you all think. I thought maybe some of you might see this differently and offer a perspective I had not considered.

It worries me, too, since food allergies are on the rise.

Posted on: Fri, 04/21/2000 - 10:03am
jl's picture
Joined: 05/12/1999 - 09:00

pThere are many reasons not to intervene in such a situation. Each person who has been perscribed epi has had a thourough exam w/ their M.D.. We are NOT doctors we are parents. Epi is a perscription drug which cn cause adverse effects in some individuals...Cardiac patients come to mind right away. You are correct in saying you have some knowledge because of your own personnal experiences but don't abuse your small bit of knowledge./p
pMy niece sufferred her first big reaction in my presence. She has a congenital kidney defect. I did not offer up my epi. What I did do was help my dear sister buckle her up in the car, drive to the local E.R., and make sure they held her for observation in case she had a rebound reaction like my son has done in the past. We were also able to assure that my sister left that hospital with two very important things....a referral to a pediatric allergist and with her own epi.br /
That's what I'd do all over again too./p

Posted on: Fri, 04/21/2000 - 11:41am
ColleenMarie's picture
Joined: 03/04/2000 - 09:00

pjl:br /
Thank you for your reply - I'm glad you let me know about some of the reasons we should stay out of it. It would be hard, but I understand your points./p
pI recently took First Aid CPR and am supposed to be receiving certification in the mail. The course was so short and there was SO much information, but I don't really feel all that qualified because I doubt I can retain it all for very long. In fact, the EMT who instructed the course told all of us to just stand back and call 911 in the presence of emergent situations. He told us not to offer the information that we hold certification because then we would be legally bound to help... I admit I'm a bit confused here. Anyway, I guess it's knowledge to be used only with family until medical attention arrives./p
pThanks again, though, for making me see another side to this. I tend to think about "What if" situations a lot, and this is one that has been bothering me for a while (since our son had his first near-death reaction at age one and WE didn't know anything about pa nor did we have an Epi. I feel very lucky that our son survived that evening)./p

Posted on: Fri, 04/21/2000 - 4:02pm
rebekahc's picture
Joined: 12/02/1999 - 09:00

pAlso remember, it is illegal to dispense prescription drugs to anyone for whom it was not prescribed. Prescription meds are controlled substances just like illicit drugs. Not only could you be sued in civil court (especially if the child died from the reaction) but you could also be subject to criminal proceedings even if the epi stopped the reaction./p

Posted on: Fri, 04/21/2000 - 11:37pm
Terry Strada's picture
Joined: 04/22/2000 - 09:00

pI think it depends on the situation, I carry a cell phone so I could offer a call for help, but many EMT's aren't allowed to carry epipens, so if it were life threatenting and their were witnesses to my offer and their acceptance I would hand them the epi to administer themselves, but it would be frightening./p

Posted on: Sat, 04/22/2000 - 1:43am
mew's picture
Joined: 02/08/2000 - 09:00

pThere was a girl a year or two ago who gave her asthma inhaler to a friend at school who was having an asthma attack. They had previously compared inhalers and knew that they were on the same prescription. The girl was almost expelled from school for sharing her medicine./p
pYour best bet is to call 911./p

Posted on: Sat, 04/22/2000 - 9:20am
ColleenMarie's picture
Joined: 03/04/2000 - 09:00

pHi everyone,/p
pOK, OK, I think I've got it now (smile)! Thanks so much for reinforcing the legal aspects and the issues of varying prescriptions and/or allergic reactions to medicine. I just have an urge to help others so I wondered and worried about these possibilities./p
pIt would still be hard to just stand there and watch a child possibly die (don't you think?), but I understand your points made. But I guess I don't have to wonder anymore. I just hope it never happens... At least now I won't have to worry about what to do. /p
pMaybe I shouldn't have asked this question at all, but surely some of you have wondered just like me - I suppose I might be the only clueless one here on this issue, in which case I apologize for bringing it up. Either way, I appreciate all of your very helpful responses./p

Posted on: Sat, 04/22/2000 - 2:53pm
rilira's picture
Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

pI think the only situation where your knowledge would be helpful would be if a child was having a reaction let's say like on a field trip where their parents weren't present,Then and only then if someone had an epi with that persons name but was unsure or scared to use it you could inject them with their rx epi and be protected under the good smaritian(sp?) law as long as you acted in good faith.All reactions are different and something that might look like our childs reaction could be totally something else in another person.It is nice that you think about helping others./p

Posted on: Sun, 04/23/2000 - 1:07pm
Nina's picture
Joined: 07/18/1999 - 09:00

pI've thought about this too and thought that when 911 was called to tell them there was an epi-pen available and let them (911) make the decision./p

Posted on: Mon, 04/24/2000 - 1:39am
melliottt's picture
Joined: 04/18/2000 - 09:00

pYou are not wrong for asking. I've been wondering the same thing. I've also wondered about CPR. It would be excrutiating to watch a situation like that and not help. My husband views the same situations more pratical-logical-legally then I do. I'm sure I would do SOMETHING. I don't know what. I hope you never have to face that situation. But, if you do keep in mind everything that has been mentioned here and the fact that you have an Epi-JR, which is designed for a small child.br /
To calm me when I get to far into the "what ifs", my husband tells me, 'IF "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, what a fine Christmas it would be'. I know this more then likely doesn't help the situation, but it makes me think about how much energy I'm wasting on the "ifs".br /
Good luck and I'll continue to worry even at Christmas!/p

Posted on: Mon, 04/24/2000 - 4:40am
Tammy James's picture
Joined: 06/01/1999 - 09:00

pAs for the original question on this thread... I've been thinking about it, and still don't know how I would react. /p
pMy question stems from how many people have mentioned taking CPR. I took a class myself after finding out about my son's allergy (peanut and tree nut), but the instructor told me that CPR would not help if his airway was swollen closed. It's frightening, and it makes sense to me, but was anyone else told this?/p


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