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School says it won't give girl her shot in medical emergency

School says it won't give girl her shot in medical emergency



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LEHI -- A couple in the Alpine School District is trying to find help after being told their daughter, who is prone to seizures, won't be given a shot prescribed by a doctor if there's a medical emergency at school.

Richard Prestwich of Lehi says his daughter has cerebral palsy and started suffering seizures last year. The doctor has given the family Diastat shots and instructed them to give one to their daughter within the first five minutes of any seizure to help prevent complications that could include kidney failure, going into a coma and even brain damage.

Diastat is the brand name used in the United States and Canada for the seizure medicine with the generic name diazepam. It is in the form of a gel and is injected into the patient to stop a cluster of repeated seizures. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997 as the first at-home alternative to treat clusters of seizures. -*epilepsy.com*
The problem arose when their daughter went back to school this year and they were told their child would not be able to be given the shot at school during a seizure because it required a nurse to give the shot and the school nurses are spread thin between all the schools in the district.

Prestwich says he's scared to send his daughter to class knowing she might not get the medicine she needs.

There is a risk of complications to giving out the Diastat shot, which Prestwich says he's fully aware of. But, he says, "The benefits outweigh the risks big time."

However, he's worried that risk is causing school nurses to instruct the schools to choose not to give out the shots.

Alpine School District Spokesperson Rhonda Bromley says they always have the safety of the child as their top priority. She says they have a team consisting of a school nurse, teachers, the parents of the child and others that evaluate the medical needs of each child to decide the best method for handling situations such as the Prestwich's. However, in this case the team hasn't been seeing eye to eye on what is the best option for care.

"And if the recommendations that the nurse gives are different than the recommendations that the parents have, then that dialogue needs to continue with the team," said Bromley. "That is happening in this case."

The Utah County Health Department oversees the school nurses in the Alpine School District. The school nursing department's bureau director Margie Golden says school nurses are bound by various rules in what they can and cannot do when it comes to the treatment of students.

Golden says she couldn't comment specifically on this case, but says when disputes arise, the parents should continue to speak with their school nurse to try and work out a solution. She says perhaps there needs to be more fact finding on the girl's medical condition with the Prestwich family.

E-mail: rjeppesen@ksl.com

Randall Jeppesen

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