Emergency Medication in Schools Act
April 9, 2014
The Director’s Desk
Ashley Gudgel, Executive Director – BreatheAmerica Albuquerque I had the privilege of attending as New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation into law that will better prepare schools for student medical emergencies. What a great day for New Mexico’s students at risk.
Last year in New Mexico there were 2.1 million visits to the school nurse. Presently, three children in every classroom have asthma, and two children have a potentially life-threatening food allergy. These are just a couple of reasons why passing this bill was so important to the children of New Mexico. In the past, school nurses were put in the position of having to watch while a child struggled to breathe, sometimes waiting ten minutes or more for an ambulance, disabled by law from performing any medical intervention. Ten minutes is a long time not to be able to breathe. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 25% of children have their first anaphylactic reaction at school, making it impossible for parents to protect them.
When a child suffers from an allergic reaction or an asthma attack, every second counts. The longer it takes to provide treatment, the greater the risk. Bill SB75 allows schools to maintain stock medication, albuterol for respiratory distress, and epinephrine for anaphylaxis (allergic reaction), and for the school nurse to administer these drugs to students in order to treat an asthma attack or for an allergic reaction, even if a student does not have a prescription.
We at BreatheAmerica Albuquerque would like to thank all the people that spent countless hours to ensure that this bill was passed. This is a bill that saves lives and is a win-win for students and the people of New Mexico.