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ASTHMA STORIES THAT HAVE DIRE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE SUFFERER

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

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Two Lead Stories lately (the “asthma stories”) were by far the most-suggested stories by readers recently. I think every one of them just suggested one or the other, and they probably didn’t know about the other. The two stories, which happened about a week apart, and about 165 miles apart, are pretty amazing together.

But let’s not just point at Texas: it happens all over. And I’m certainly not being overly dramatic by saying this can be a life or death situation. Ryan Gibbons, 12, of Straffordville, Ont., Canada (you know ZT is international, right?) died October 9, 2012, because his school wouldn’t let him carry his inhaler with him. They literally took it away from him.

Ryan’s mother campaigned for a new law to force schools to allow kids to have their inhalers with them. It took three years, but Ontario passed it — and apparently Ontario is still the only Canadian province to have such a law. It’s called “Ryan’s Law”. Yet “There are still school boards all across this country and schools within those boards that don’t allow children to carry their puffers,” said Rob Oliphant, president of the Asthma Society of Canada. “It’s usually part of a blanket understanding of medications, so they say medications are unsafe, they have that idea in their head, so they lock them up in the principal’s office.”

Bryant Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., did not allow Laporshia Massey, 12, to have her inhaler. Worse, students there are not allowed to take medications without a school nurse present. You guessed it: there was no nurse on duty on September 25, 2013, when Massey had an asthma attack. Rather than call 911, the school took the girl home, where she died. Her parents sued the school.

Those are just two cases I found in a quick search: there are more. “Certainly as a doctor we think about controlled substances like narcotics or illegal or illicit drugs like marijuana and they are nowhere near the same category,” says Dr. Gary Weinstein, director of the Asthma Management Program at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, commenting on the Garland case. Yet schools freak out because inhalers are “drugs” and we must “Just Say No!” to “drugs” because that’s the zero tolerance way. Meth and cocaine are not the same as albuterol inhalers, which “have little potential for abuse,” Weinstein says. Yet after all these years — and death after death — schools can’t seem to grasp the difference. A drug is a drug is a drug.

The nurse at Volusia County (Fla.) School watched as Michael Rudi, 17, collapsed on the floor from an asthma attack. He had made it to the office in time, but the nurse wouldn’t give him his inhaler because she didn’t find a medical release form signed by a parent. His inhaler was there, in its original packaging with Michael’s name on it (and his doctor’s!), yet without that form they wouldn’t give it to him. They called his mother, but she was not allowed to give permission over the phone; she had to come to the school and sign the form. “As soon as we opened up the door, we saw my son collapsing against the wall on the floor of the nurse’s office while she was standing in the window of the locked door looking down at my son, who was in full-blown asthma attack,” Sue Rudi says. She barely got there in time: her son lived. “I believe that when I closed my eyes I wasn’t going to wake up,” the boy said later. He was sure he was going to die.

Cheryl Selesky, the district’s Director of Student Health Services, insisted it was Michael’s parents’ fault for not being sure a new signed form was on file — none of the forms they had signed for the previous school years were good enough. Following her rule was more important than Michael’s life. The school couldn’t even be bothered to call 911. And that’s with a trained nurse present!

Kids need to be part of their own healthcare: they know when they need life-saving medications, and teachers and school administrators have no business butting in and taking those medications away. Having them locked up in the school office is no substitute even when there is a nurse on duty. Kids with medical problems have enough problems with bullies among their fellow students. To institutionalize the bullying by making kids gasping for breath walk or be carried to the office to beg for life-saving medications, because they’re “controlled substances” not differentiated from marijuana, is absurd, and not in the best interest of the kids, society, or the taxpayers who have to foot the bill when the schools are sued over their gross negligence, allowing — even forcing — the deaths of the pupils in their care. It’s downright sadistic.

U.S. News and World Report magazine reported in 2012 that “all 50 states have laws that allow children with asthma to carry inhalers at school and 48 states have laws that let youngsters carry epinephrine pens for serious allergies,” yet “experts say that some kids are still being denied access to these lifesaving medications during the school day.” Obviously, in 2016 that’s still the case.

When school officials get in the middle of the care between a child and their doctors, those school officials need to be personally liable for their decisions: no hiding behind “policy” or “zero tolerance” whether there’s a law or not. They need to be sued and lose their jobs and homes, and local authorities should consider criminal charges — and prosecutors should press for prison time. Hell, that happens all the time when people treat animals that way, so why don’t we press charges when school administrators treat children this way? This crap needs to stop, and right now: there is no reason for these children to suffer, even die, when help is so easily available.

OOO

Henry Sapiecha

ASTHMA – WHAT IS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF IT?

Monday, August 24th, 2009

What You Should be aware of about Asthma

From early onset to full diagnosis & possible cure

x-ray-doctor

You have heard of asthma, even if we do not know exactly what it is. How much do you know about asthma, its causes, its symptoms and its treatment? You’re not alone if you discover that you don’t know as much as you thought you did. Here are some revelations about asthma.

First, know that asthma can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, race or other factors. It is most common in children or people with a family history of asthma although it can occur in families with no history and early-onset asthma is also possible.

We know that asthma is caused my inflammation in the airways of the lungs which leads to the common symptoms of asthma but we do not know exactly what causes this inflammation. We do, however, know what types of conditions and circumstances can attribute to or cause a flare-up of asthma. We call these asthma triggers.

Exercise is one of the most common triggers of asthma and even people with mild asthma can experience symptoms triggered by exercise. However, getting exercise is actually good for your body and your asthma; you just need proper treatment while doing so.

Pollen and certain types of molds are another trigger for people with asthma. During the season of hay fever, many people with asthma need additional treatment and may have trouble going outdoors. Indoor molds can also contribute to asthma flare-ups.

Upper respiratory infections are another common trigger for asthma. If you have a cold, flu or other type respiratory infection, you will likely have an occurrence of asthma symptoms.

Certain foods and certain medicines can also trigger asthma symptoms. These can vary from person to person and can be allergy-related so your doctor can help you determine your triggers and avoid them as much as possible.

Emotions can also affect your asthma. While asthma is not directly related to your nerves or your emotional state, there are certain emotions such as stress or even laughter than can cause or aggravate the symptoms of asthma.

Please note that these things do not cause asthma, nor do allergies cause asthma, they just contribute to the condition and often lead to flare-ups or “attacks” as they are often called. If you have asthma, your children could be at a greater risk for getting it too so it’s important to learn the early warning signs and keep an eye on it.

There is no cure for asthma but there are many treatments available. Advancements in technology and medicine every day are leading us to new treatments and possibly a cure in the future but for now, we have to settle for the treatment plans our doctors deem best for us.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 24th August 2009

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