Death & Taxes

Posted on: Tue, 04/27/1999 - 1:27am
terry's picture
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Joined: 01/16/1999 - 09:00

Two things you generally want to postpone as long as possible are death & taxes. The Associated Press reported a death in Seattle on thursday, 4/22/99, by an individual who was 37 yrs. old and "went into anaphylactic shock from an allergic reaction to something he ingested." The obituary did not give further details regarding the reaction...One of our children's grandfather passed away recently, in lieu of flowers we asked for donations to be made to peanut allergy research at the Denver Jewish Hospital...Mary has posted a nice selection of research orginazations that one may want to conssider if in a similar situation. Stay Safe

Posted on: Tue, 04/27/1999 - 10:35am
dhumphries's picture
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Joined: 02/02/1999 - 09:00

Hi Terry,
We attended my husband's class reunion in June, and was shocked to learn that a good friend's 40 year old husband had recently died from an anyphylactic food reaction. They had evidently been trying to identify the source. He had a burger at a Mexican food restaurant, came home, and went into full anyphylactic shock. he had not yet been prescribed epinephrine. The EMS administered it, but could not revive him. Of course, I listened to all this with horror, knowing my son had an anyphylactic pnt allergy. As a side note, this 40 yr old man had no previous history of food allergy until the last month of his life. Scary!

Posted on: Thu, 05/06/1999 - 12:39pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Terry, what a nice gesture and a great idea!
Debbie, that is a scary thought! I don't think this gets any easier with age, does it?!
My brother who is a chef here in our city told me last Saturday night a man was at the restaurant with a party of about 15 people. He had "tied on" one too many cocktails out on the deck and reached his hand into the bowl on the bar that had peanuts in it and ate a handful of them. (He did know he was allergic to peanuts because he told them after he ingested them). He immediately started going into anaphylactic shock and my brother said he was like a fish floundering on the deck. Fire Rescue got there in 7 minutes and saved him!
My husband and I were there the night before and I wonder if we had been there that particular night if we could have "shot" him with my son's Epi pen until Fire Rescue got there. Would the *Good Samaritan* law apply here?? Granted, it would have been an Epi Jr., but maybe enough just to buy time until rescue arrived?
Any thoughts on this? If we saw someone going into anaphylactic shock and they had nothing on them, could we legally inject them with our own epi pen to save their life? Has anyone else ever thought about doing this? I know, personally, whenever I go to a restaurant, I always think about "what if" and what would I do in that type of situation.
[This message has been edited by Connie (edited May 06, 1999).]

Posted on: Thu, 05/06/1999 - 8:18pm
LauraP's picture
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Joined: 03/10/1999 - 09:00

Connie-
I often think about the same thing! Unfortunately, I think being a "Good Samaritan " with your Epi-pen can get you into a heap of trouble legally.
The epi-pen is a prescription drug. It is against the law to administer it to a person, other than the one it is prescribed for. In the restaurant situation, if there was an M.D. or qualified medical professional among the diners, who was asking if patrons had an epi-pen, I think under those circumstances it would be O.K. for a person to hand over the epi-pen for administration.
The problem I always worry about is my
2 1/2 year old daughter. She has shown no signs of allergy of any sort ....yet. Suppose I give her something some day and she has a reaction? I have adrenaline prescribed for my son, but not for her. Technically, I'd be breaking the law if I administerd an epi-pen to her. I think what I would do in that situation, is call my son's allergist, and receive permission to use the epi-pen (I certainly would not sit there and "wait" for EMT's to arrive - especially since not all of them carry adrenaline).
Go back to the diner hypothetical. Suppose you administer the epi-pen, and the person dies. If you're not a doctor - you've broken the law trying to help, and a person is dead (maybe not a result of the epi), but now you are exposed to potential legal liability. There are many factors/aspects of a persons medical history that have to be considered before they are injected with adrenaline. Sad, but true - it is probably wiser to refrain from using an epi on a stranger under these circumstances.
[This message has been edited by LauraP (edited May 07, 1999).]

Posted on: Thu, 05/06/1999 - 10:17pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Laura, thanks so much for your advice on this. I have often thought about "what would I do."
I remember in the news when a little girl who had asthma loaned her inhaler to a schoolmate having an asthma attack and they suspended her from school--even after saving the other little girl's life.
I think we all have enough to deal with without legal battles as well. I just always wondered what I would do in this situation and now I know...call 911 and pray.
Thanks again for your response, Laura. It might help others also who have thought about this as well.

Posted on: Tue, 05/11/1999 - 3:33pm
ElizabethsMom's picture
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Joined: 04/17/1999 - 09:00

Tough question.
If my child was having an anaphylactic reaction and had forgotten or mis-used his epi-pen what would I want others to do? Yes, it may be LEGALLY wiser to refrain from using an epipen on a stranger. Is it MORALLY wiser to stand by and watch the stranger die knowing you could have saved his/her life? What if you or your child was the stranger? Would you be willing to sacrifice your life or your child's life for the sake of someone else possibly avoiding a lawsuit? Is that acceptable to you?
Could I live with myself knowing I didn't help someone? No.
But, how much do I know about the case? Am I really aware that the person is having an anaphylactic reaction? Can I verify it through a medic-alert bracelet and confirmation from the victim and/or a companion of the victim? What if I accidentally accelerate a heart attack or a stroke? Heaven forbid, what if my intervention kills the person?
Could I live with myself knowing I harmed someone while trying to help? No.
So, Laura, I would just like to add to your opinion - Since none of us are actually doctors we lack the qualifications to diagnose an illness. What looks to us like an anaphylactic reaction could be a number of other illnesses. Administering epinephrine could accelerate the illness or block the effectiveness of other potentially life-saving treatments. The bigger risk isn't the LEGAL risk to us, but instead the potentially life-threatening risk to the person we may be trying to help. I can survive a law suit. Someone else might not survive my attempt to help.
So what can we do? Is it okay to let the person having the attack, the ambulance or the 911 service know we have epinephrine in case it is needed? If the person or one of their companions self-injects our epinephrine are we exposed to less risk? What are our boundaries?
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Kristin

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