http://www.nysut.org/newyorkteacher/2005-2006/060330goldman.html Nurse gives dose of reality in diabetic debate March 30, 2006 Anne Goldman demonstrates a glucagon injection on a mannequin. A NYSUT Board member, Goldman is also a special nurse representative to the UFT. After watching a nurse demonstrate to the NYSUT Board of Directors how to administer a glucagon injection to a diabetic patient in shock, teacher and Board member Dona Vermilya was in distress. Her mind flashed back to the "horrendous experience" of having to inject someone who had gone into diabetic shock. First she had to test his blood, something she knew how to do from nearly 10 years of experience, to determine the exact problem. But the glucagon injection required her to read directions, mix a substance, check for air bubbles, all while dealing with "the weight of essentially having his life in my hands." Two neighbors, an emergency medical technician and a nurse, were there to guide her but were not allowed to administer the glucagon. "I finally jabbed a needle in his thigh," said Vermilya, a teacher for the deaf and former president of the Broome-Tioga BOCES Teachers Association. "I'm thinking about a teacher with a classroom full of kids trying to deal with this." New York State United Teachers is closely monitoring bills in the Legislature that would encourage schools to train teachers and non-medical staff to inject students with glucagon to stave off a diabetic coma. Some measures before lawmakers would encourage school districts to train teachers and other non-medical personnel, such as bus drivers, to make glucagon injections using a portable kit with a syringe. To show the level of skill and detail required, Anne Goldman, a New York City nurse and NYSUT Board member, demonstrated to fellow board members the use of a glucagon kit to inject a child-sized mannequin. The person administering the injections first needs to judge the severity of the diabetic shock, mix a powder and liquid in the proper proportion based on body weight, and also make sure there's no air in the syringe. This could happen while clamoring children crowd the victim, who may be vomiting and going into a coma, Goldman pointed out. Goldman, who chairs NYSUT's Health Care Professionals Council, told the board the American Diabetes Association is pressing for such legislation in many states. School nurse staffing The real solution, said NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue, is to make sure schools are sufficiently staffed with nurses trained to administer care before a child gets dangerously close to a coma. NYSUT is supporting bills in the Legislature that would mandate a nurse in each school building. Board member Deb Paulin, a bus driver from the Alden Central School Employees Association in Erie County , said she met a fellow driver from another state at a conference who had been approached by the district because "they wanted the drivers to start giving the shots." Even with training, it is hard to determine the nature of a particular diabetic's problem, said Paulin, who went through training herself to deal with diabetic family members. "I've taken care of insulin-dependent family members and used a stick to test their blood sugar," Paulin said. However, the glucagon kit has no way to measure blood sugar, nothing to clean the injection site and contains no gloves. — Liza Frenette NYSUT.org. Copyright New York State United Teachers. 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, New York, 12110-2455. 518.213.6000. http://www.nysut.org.