As hard as it is to imagine, children with diabetes in Pennsylvania aren’t always able to get insulin and glucagon at school because school staff members are prevented from helping a child in need.
While some students have a full-time nurse in their school, others share their school nurse with multiple schools, and that nurse cannot always be available to provide both everyday and emergency care. Even in schools with a full-time nurse, the nurse often isn’t available during field trips and extracurricular activities. But diabetes can’t wait.
Diabetes must be managed 24 hours a day. At home, a child has parents, babysitters, and others to help, but at school, there may be no one who can care for them. Without this careful management, these vulnerable children face frightening short term complications and an ever increasing risk of blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, amputation - even death.
In the horrific situation where a child with diabetes has a severe low blood glucose level and the school nurse isn’t present, the current solution is to call 911 and hope an ambulance arrives in time, rather than having staff administer life-saving glucagon. That’s not a response we can allow to stand!
Right now, legislation is pending in Pennsylvania that would make a huge difference in children’s lives. It would allow school staff members to be trained to give insulin and glucagon so there is always someone there to help, even when a school nurse cannot be. It would also allow students who are mature enough to do so to independently self-manage their diabetes at school.