Good afternoon Madam Chair and members of the committee. My name is Homa Woodrum, and I am an attorney here in Las Vegas but first and foremost I am a mother of a child with multiple food allergies. My daughter tested positive at about 15 months old with allergies to: wheat, soy, milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, sesame, corn, and oats. We carry an epinephrine auto-injector for her at all times.
I have followed developments in increased food allergy awareness and potential legislation with interest but wanted to lend my voice as a parent today on the subject of what is commonly referred to as stock epinephrine in schools – especially considering that, per the CDC, 25% of anaphylactic reactions in schools occur without a food allergy diagnosis.
Additionally, the New England Journal of Medicine has indicated that four of six deaths from food allergy occur in schools AND were associated with significant delay in treating reactions with epinephrine. We are talking about mere minutes making all the difference between the life and death of a child.
I am excited to see that this subject is being addressed through legislative process and wanted to provide some background information. Nevada would be joining eight forward thinking states that have adopted stock epinephrine bills in the face of over 2 million school aged children in the United States suffering from food allergies. It is important to note that (1) these are ever growing numbers, (2) many food allergies go unreported, and (3) food allergies can present at any time.
Also, many food allergic children may not have filled prescriptions or unexpired medication considering the cost of obtaining annual replacements ranges from $200 to as much as $240 per pen twin pack. There are other injectors entering the market, such as Auvi-Q that may hopefully be more affordable but the need is there and the risk is great.
I applaud getting anything passed regarding this issue and to address the dire need for epinephrine in schools. I understand that during the public comment period earlier concerns were raised about licensed professionals administering epinephrine injections but as I can show you with this epinephrine injection trainer, administration of epinephrine is something that parents are doing every day across the country.
Imagine, if you will, that my daughter, who turned 4 on Sunday, has an anaphylactic reaction at school (and this could be something as simple as touching a pencil with nut butter residue and touching her eye or mouth) and her own injector malfunctions. As written, this bill could save her life if a school chose to keep an epinephrine auto-injector on hand and train in its use.
…Or save the life of a child who does not have an injector sent to school with them.
…Or save the life of a child that has their first ever reaction at school.
…Or save the life of a child that has a worse reaction than they are accustomed to.
I implore the committee to consider the young citizens of Nevada that need mandated stock epinephrine. Their future is in your hands. Thank you.
I need to gather my thoughts about today’s experience in another post (including a few shout-outs) but the above is the statement I read (with some asides) during the public comment portion of the August 29, 2012 Nevada Legislative Committee on Health Care meeting.