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Rhode Island: OK, enough with the delay. Take a vote

Discussion in 'School and Daycare' started by Ellen, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    OK, enough with the delay. Take a vote | Bob Kerr | projo.com | The Providence Journal

    Bob Kerr

    OK, enough with the delay. Take a vote

    [SIZE=-1]01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, June 1, 2008


    This year, three of Stephen Hunt’s friends came with him when he testified at the State House. They brought an exhibit, the kind of thing you might see at a school science fair. It showed how glucagon is administered.

    The three friends are all trained to administer the glucagon to Stephen. It is the drug that revives him should he lose consciousness because of low blood sugar. He is diabetic.

    It is five years for Stephen, who is 16, and five years for his mother, Sue. They live in Charlestown, and for five years they have been going to the State House to testify in favor of a bill that would allow glucagon to be administered by trained volunteers in schools should a school nurse not be present. It is a bill supported by the American Diabetes Association and the parents of diabetic children and a bunch of pediatricians. It is a bill that screams common sense and caring.

    It is a bill that hasn’t passed. And it doesn’t look promising this year. The Hunts, mother and son, live with diabetes and all its restrictions and uncertainty. And they keep coming back to the State House because they truly believe that the glucagon bill has the potential to save a life.
    “The level of frustration and anger is intense,” says Sue Hunt.

    That’s understandable, because Hunt and others involved in this long struggle know there is one thing that would absolutely guarantee passage of the bill. There is one thing that would leave lawmakers unable to do anything else. And that one thing is one diabetic student dropping to the classroom floor in a diabetic coma when the school nurse is somewhere else.

    The bill’s supporters ask “why wait?” Why wait for a tragedy when the tragedy could be prevented?

    “Families know this is what our kids need,” says Hunt. “The only place they don’t have it is at school, where they should be protected.”
    This is strange. The major opposition to the bill is coming from the people who would seem most likely to support it — school nurses. Nurses have said they won’t provide the training should the bill become law. They argue against it on safety grounds. They also argue that administering glucagon is too complicated for nonprofessionals to handle.

    But safety would seem at the heart of it. Diabetic students would be a whole lot safer if the glucagon they carry could be used in an emergency than if it couldn’t be used for lack of a trained volunteer. Does anyone really want to consider the possibility of a student in school in a diabetic coma and no one able to come forward and help? Do members of the General Assembly really want to put kids at risk by not putting a simple safeguard in place?

    The House Health Education and Welfare Committee heard testimony on the bill. Members heard Stephen Hunt and his friends explain, with visual aids, how glucagon is administered.

    And the committee decided to hold the bill for further study.
    Further study? Please. After five years? What’s to study? What part of this simple proposal doesn’t the committee understand?

    Come on. Holding for further study is just a sneaky way of saying no without the consequences of angry citizen reaction.

    Sue Hunt says that the mantra of the bill’s supporters is to appeal to committee members to allow the bill to go for a vote of the full House.
    It could still happen. There is still time. After five years, the Hunts have it coming. They have appealed to common sense, and they have pointed out, again and again, how this bill provides an extra layer of safety for child diabetics.

    They deserve to have an answer, not just another shifty legislative maneuver that leaves the bill in limbo and leaves the Hunts wondering if they can face a sixth year of going to the State House and getting nowhere.

    Chances are good that if it did come to a vote, members of the House would find it very difficult to tell young diabetics in Rhode Island that their safety is just not a priority this year. bkerr@projo.com
  2. blessed

    blessed Approved members

    Mar 2, 2008
    this was exactly what I did to change law in WA state

    Ellen and everyone
    This is exactly what I did in WA state years back when Cameron was in 3rd grade. I was passionate about changing the law to allow PDA's (parent designated adult) in school. It took 3 years for me to get a bill passed by the Gov. here, but it WORKED. It can and will if there is even but ONE passionate person willing to have the NEVER give up attitude. If I can do it so can Rhode Island!!! If I can help in anyway, let me know. THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT law to have in place. Most schools do NOT have a full time nurse so if a diabetic person were to pass out the school would just sit and wait for the paramedics or a nurse. NOT ok in my eyes or many other endo's from across the country that wrote letters for us.
    Wow, I didn't realize it would raise my heart rate just writing this post. IT WAS my passion for 3 years and boy did it feel good to reach my goal! RI YOU CAN DO IT!!!!! Dayna

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