Saturday, January 28, 2012

Support S. 1884: School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act

Recently, my niece Emily made a request on her blog, Food Allergy Thoughts (from Sophie Safe):
Please consider contacting members of this committee:

and asking them to support S. 1884: School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. This bill would allow schools to have a supply of epinephrine and administer it to any student believed to be having an anaphylactic reaction. If Ammaria Johnson's school had this policy, she would likely have lived. Let's get this bill passed so there are no more Ammarias.
Last night, I did just that, and I encourage you to do the same.

Why is this bill important to me? I read Emily's blog regularly, and have become more aware of the daily risks faced by children with allergies, such as Emily's daughter. Within the past year, I've read of two students, Ammaria and Katelyn, who died when allergic reactions sent them into anaphylactic shock. In both those cases, as I understand it, the school reacted quickly, and called 911, but no epinephrine was administered.

Someone (maybe it was Emily) once told me that the benefit of an Epipen is that it buys time, critical time, to allow a child to receive care at a hospital. Without it, a child can quickly succumb to the reaction, as happened with Ammaria and Katelyn.

"Quickly" is a relative term. In this blog entry, a parent describes her child's allergic reaction, in which his throat closed within 1-2 minutes. To me, that is frighteningly fast, and doesn't allow time to do much - except administer life-saving epinephrine, via that Epipen.

A bill that encourages schools to stock and use epinephrine seems like a no-brainer to me. If you agree, send a message (or messages) of support for S. 1884.

If you follow Emily's GovTrack link, you'll see a list of the committee members (only four show up on that page; you can use the navigating arrows and buttons to see all members). For each member you want to contact, if you click on their name, it takes you to their site on There, you can click on a link to their official website. On that site, you can find a 'contact' or similar link, which lets you fill out a form to send them your message.

That main first GovTrack link also lists the bills currently in committee, so you can find and read S. 1884.

As I was poking around GovTrack, I looked at the Tips for Communicating with Congress page. It was interesting, and talked about whether or not writing letters even helps, given the volume of communications that members of congress receive. My take-away was that it might help; it at least serves as a polling tool; and, form letters definitely don't help. When you do write, you should be specific, be brief, and explain why this issue is important to you.

Thanks for your support!

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