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From Manlius, New York, USA:

My eighth grade daughter is scheduled to go on a graduation field trip to Boston for three nights, and the school requires a note saying that she can self administer all necessary medications. While she can take care of her diabetes needs without a problem, the school requires the doctor to write that if she needs glucagon -- call 911. The school will not allow anyone who works for the school district to administer the glucagon (even if they are qualified or is willing to learn) because of insurance. The doctor says that is absurd, he has never heard of this on a field trip. So the choice is that either I have to go on the field trip (my daughter does not want me to), or she can't go.


I am not sure of your legal rights, but unless you never let your child go anywhere without glucagon and knowing there is someone who can administer it, I suggest you agree to let them call 911 in case of emergency. She will be in a city with many excellent hospitals nearby and an active emergency medical system. I would suggest you work with your child's doctor to try to decrease the risk of her needing glucagon on the trip, even if it means having a few higher blood sugars.

It is important for teens to be able to be independent, including going places where there isn't always someone around to administer glucagon. I would, however, make sure that you send the glucagon with her. If for some reason she is going low and can't get her blood sugar up (say she has a stomach virus), she can give herself some glucagon before it is an emergency. In addition, if they do have to call 911, if they have the glucagon handy, they can just give it to EMS so it is given as quickly as possible.


Additional comments from David S. Holtzman, Esq.:

I agree with the school district. Educators licensed by the State of New York have no legal authority in Massachusetts to administer medications. Let's say they do take on the responsibility to administering glucagon or other medications. If something happens to go wrong and your daughter is seriously harmed, or worse, due to their actions or omissions, have you signed a piece of paper that you and your family promise not to sue?

As an attorney, my advice to care givers and school administrators is if a child is in bad enough shape that they require glucagon to be revived, take them immediately to the closest physician. In our litigious society, this is the only advice a competent legal advisor can give.


Original posting 26 Jan 2003
Posted to School and Daycare


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:42
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