Senate OKs Bill Allowing School Staff To Provide Seizure Drug to Students
Last week, the California Senate voted 32-4 to pass a bill (SB 161), by Sen. Robert Huff (R-Diamond Bar), that would allow school employees to administer epilepsy medication to students, California Watch reports.
The bill now goes to the Assembly for committee hearings (Jewett, California Watch, 6/6).
A 2009 regulation by the state Board of Registered Nursing directed school nurses not to train non-medical staff to administer the anti-convulsion drug Diastat.
In 2010, Huff introduced a bill (SB 1051) aimed at countering the nursing board's directive. However, the legislation failed to advance out of the Senate Appropriations Committee after nursing unions lobbied against the bill.
Opposing the Bill
Many nurses and teachers oppose SB 161, contending that students who experience seizures should be treated by licensed medical personnel. They say school employees could mistakenly give out the wrong drug or administer Diastat to a student who does not need itÂ (Martindale, Orange County Register, 5/27).
Opponents argue that school employees could be held liable if they administer the medication incorrectly. In addition, they note that students could not be guaranteed privacy if the rectally administered drug is given in a classroom (California Watch, 6/6).
Supporting the Bill
Pediatric neurologists and advocates for epilepsy care say that the chance of administering Diastat incorrectly is extremely low and that the benefits of giving the drug outweigh the risks.
In addition, some medical experts say that children with epilepsy could face permanent brain damage or death if they fail to receive anti-seizure medication in a timely manner (Orange County Register, 5/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.