What happens if a state rules that ONLY NURSES can administer insulin to diabetic kids at school, but there are no more nurses?! This is currently the case in California, broke and cutting school budgets left and right. Now, a state appeals court has issued a ruling that finds state law means school staffers who are not trained nurses should not be allowed to give injections, under any circumstances.
A family in Pacifica, CA, writes to me:
"It is extremely worrisome. We have a 7-yr-old diabetic and don't know what we are going to do next year."
I have a 7-year-old too. She's very bright, but seven is still too young to make big, important decisions for yourself. My little one doesn't have diabetes, but I think about that eventuality all the time. If she did, how would I feel about sending her to school where NO ONE is authorized to help her with her diabetes?
In California, it used to be OK for "trained non-nursing employees to test children's blood sugar, if a child is unable to do so, and to administer insulin whenever licensed nurses are unavailable." But that's what's been overturned in this new ruling, it seems.
If this is going on in California, then I'm quite sure similar conflicts are taking place in other states.
How could a ruling like this possibly be beneficial to anyone, I wonder?
From reading the coverage, it looks like the American Nurses Association is protecting its territory. They claim that allowing anyone other than trained nurses to administer insulin is "dangerous, requires substantial scientific knowledge to safely administer, and poses a significant risk of harm if administered in error."
Why yes, there is a risk of error — and we People with Diabetes take that risk multiple times every day. Do the nurses believe that leaving young diabetics to grapple with insulin dosing at school on their own, without the help of (any) knowledgeable adult, is somehow less risky?!
I am upset about this, as I'm sure many parents and other advocates are.
Thankfully, the JDRF is actively advocating, and also the American Diabetes Association is working hard to overturn the ruling. They've issued a statement, which includes this comment from the ADA's Chair of the Board:
"Every child with diabetes has a right to be medically safe at school and the right to the same educational opportunities as his or her peers."
A self-evident truth, no? It's just beyond frustrating when political and economic concerns seem to trump concerns over children's basic safety...