A 15-year-old high school student with a severe allergy to nuts accidentally became exposed to some during her school’s lunch hour. The teen, having dealt with this illness for years, knew just what to do. The only problem was, the nurse refused to help her.
The school has the child’s EpiPen in their possession, which is a rule most schools in the United States have. On the child’s records, it specifically has a note from the girl’s mother that says “EpiPen first!”. Ignoring this message, the nurse instead offered the girl, Lia Sommer, some anti-histamine Benadryl.
The girl frantically explained to the nurse that her allergy was so severe, the only thing that would prevent her from going into anaphylactic shock was the EpiPen.
So, the nurse then called the girl’s parents. Despite the parents also confirming that they needed the nurse to give Lia the EpiPen immediately, the nurse still didn’t do it. Instead, they called her an ambulance.
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After speaking with Lia on the phone, Lonnie Joy asked the nurse if an EpiPen was administered and if 911 was called. The nurse said “no” to both questions, according to WGN-TV.
“I was shocked that a trained medical professional was either unaware of the most up-to-date protocol for anaphylaxis or unwilling to follow it,” Lonnie Joy said. “I told her administer the EpiPen and call 911 immediately. She said it would be done, and confirmed I would meet the ambulance at Northwest Community Hospital.”
But when Lonnie Joy arrived at the hospital before the ambulance, she was “astonished to find that no school representative had accompanied Lia to the ER.”
“It is ludicrous that a minor would be sent alone to a hospital during school hours with no personnel to represent her,” said Lonnie Joy. “I am horrified and saddened by the complete lack of common sense and compassion that predicated this decision.”Although Lia’s parents are not suing the school district, Township High School District 214 says it is reviewing its rules and measures on allergies, food and medical treatment. If any changes are needed, “they will be enacted right away,” District 214 spokesperson Jennifer Delgado said.
“The district sincerely apologizes for our mistakes. Student safety is always of the utmost importance, and we are working with the family to remedy the situation,” said Delgado.
The school agreed to pay for Lia’s medical bills. The nurse responsible for the incident is still employed at the high school.