Digital News Report – After its fourth Senate hearing, Senator Bob Huff (R – Diamond Bar) announced today that Senate Bill 1051, a bill to help students suffering from a seizure while at school, passed the Senate Health Committee in the face of heavy union opposition.
“This bill has received far more scrutiny than nearly any bill in the legislature this year,” said Senator Huff. “But the issue is very simple: should we help kids in need or not?”
SB 1051 will permit volunteer school employees to be trained to provide emergency medical assistance to students suffering from seizures. Some children with epilepsy are susceptible to prolonged seizures and require access to a life-saving emergency medication. FDA approved, Diastat Acudial, a pre-dosed preparation of diazepam gel, is the standard out-of-hospital treatment for prolonged seizures. Diastat is a safe and effective treatment, specifically designed to be administered by people without medical training.
Many school employee and nurses’ unions, including the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Nurses Association (CNA), believe only school nurses should administer Diastat. However, proponents of the bill say it is vital to have trained employees, even if a school has a nurse, because a nurse may not be in the proximity of a child who is suffering a seizure.
“Some kids only have a couple minutes before they can start to experience brain damage,” said Senator Huff. “While a nurse is first in line to address the situation, the reality is that they may not be near the child during a seizure.”
For over a decade it has been common in California schools to have trained non-medical personnel (teachers, aides, office staff) administer doctor prescribed Diastat in an emergency situation, when a student suffers a severe, possibly life threatening, seizure.
Due to a recent recommendation by a consultant to the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN), nurses are now refusing to train school personnel, and schools are reluctant to have staff, even those already trained, administer Diastat.
California law already allows school personnel to administer emergency intervention drugs for diabetics and allergic reactions, and Diastat already has a ten year record of safe use.