Diabetes Should Not Even Entered the Argument…..Something YOU SHOULD Know About.

Scales tipped wrongMany times I have stated that any one person can make a difference if they choose to make a difference.  If you have not been following what has been happening in California, you should find out.

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the American Nurses Association (ANA) v. Tom Torlakson as Superintendent of Public Instruction, a case that disputes the legality of non-medical professionals administering insulin to children with diabetes in a school setting.

The two arguments (in my very simple terms, my apologies to the judicial system): ANA states that only a nurse can administer insulin in the schools vs. others being allowed to administer insulin. 

What I find interesting here is that it took seven years to get to California’s highest court.  Appeals, litigation, and seven years later the Supreme Court has to rule in 90 days on its findings based on the arguments.

Perhaps it’s me, but there just MUST COME A TIME that common sense prevails in cases such as these.  When it is so very clear of a child’s welfare being compromised, there is something wrong.  When the average ratio in the state is 1 nurse per 2200 students; there is something wrong there as well.

And it is THAT point that also MUST be considered.

In as much as the lawsuits seem ridiculously simple to solve, the bigger question the Union is asking is the real problem of the school district: Are there enough nurses, and what to do about it?

Unfortunately they may have a valid point.  But they missed on the approach and at the expense of those kids with diabetes; and that’s not good.

If you want Rocky Road Ice Cream; you have to ask for Rocky Road Ice Cream.

The real error here is that the plight of those with diabetes is being argued to make a bigger point and to fight a bigger argument. 

When I read these comments:
Justice Joyce Kennard: “If kids can self-administer, if parents can help administer the insulin shot, what amount of scientific knowledge is applicable?”
Justice Carol Corrigan:  “If I’m a parent of a first grader and there are no school nurses … either we have to hope little Billy knows how to inject himself or I have to rush home from work, is that how it works?”

My hunch is that the arguments made by the ANA are losing footing very quickly in the minds of these Justices.  And that is too bad because they may very well have a point that something needs to be done to change that 1 nurse per 2200 students.  I, for one, do not know what should/can work in this scenario.  I do not know what it should be, but THAT argument was not the argument and I do believe it should have been; and in a different scenario, it still may.

But someone at the ANA either underestimated the power of the American Diabetes Association’s ability to make the correct argument or they didn’t think it all the way through that the ‘issue at hand’ was too detrimental to our kids to be used for the bigger point they are making, or wanted to make.

It’s too bad because they may have a good and valid point.  But after seven years of going through the legal system, finally, we can only hope that the courts’ wisdom will prevail and a better system of administering insulin to the children who have enough on their plate dealing with type 1 diabetes every day, will no longer have to worry who can, and will, administer insulin when needed .

It very well may be that it turns out in our favor, that will be a good thing and thank you to all who fought the good fight for the last seven years. 

Special kudos to the American Diabetes Association.  If you ever wanted to see an organization in action, this was the ADA doing what they do better than ANY other group out there; fighting for the rights of people with diabetes—BRAVO ADA.

But the fact will remain that 1 nurse per 2200 students will stay the same—-and that should have been the argument of the ANA to begin with; now we don’t know if that ratio is okay to continue; and we very well may never know.  And that is not good.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

11 replies on “Diabetes Should Not Even Entered the Argument…..Something YOU SHOULD Know About.”

I makes sense to demand that a nurse administer insulin (and glucagon) when needed … But I think if this were to become law there would be unintended consequences … The law would demand a nurse administer insulin but there still would not be enough nurses and now all the T1 kids will end up being excluded and unable to attend school.

In Mass there is a law (that the nursing unions pushed) that prevents anyone but a nurse to adminster glucagon. I needed my T1 son to stay for extended day at school and I wanted to train the teacher how to adminster it in an emergency. I was told that I could not do that. And the only thing the teacher can legally do is call 911. I asked why and they pointed to law and said if they allowed that they could be sued. Which enraged me since they were suggested Iwould sue the teacher for trying to save my child’s life! In the end I had to make a choice because even though the law demands a nurse adminster glucagon there is still no law that a nurse always be at school.

One of the reasons we are hoping that the law is ‘struck down’ allowing others to administer as needed. To be hojest, I know the law dealt with insulin—i am unsure if glucagon or even an epi-pen is included in this discussion/ruling.

I live in California – anyone who is trained can administer glucagon, but only a school nurse (or parent/child) can administer insulin, unless in an emergency situation. In an emergency situation, someone else has to be trained to administer it. My daughter is on a pump so she can push the “go” button with the health tech watching, but the health tech is not allowed to push the “go” button. I am lucky that in my district, we have 3 traveling nurses so one is always there if needed. I know others who are not so lucky.

Thank you Krissy—-it so POWERFUL to hear from those who are living through the process. Thank you for fighting the good fight and best of luck with the next 90 days.

We need to do whatever it takes to fix states like Massachusetts that still have antiquated nurse practice regulations in effect. It is unacceptable that state laws and regulations have not kept pace with diabetes and other medical technology and seem to take a big step backward in supporting our children’s critical transition to independent diabetes self-management. While we as parents all value the important role of the school nurse, the school nurse is not the only school staff member qualified to provide diabetes care. Let’s focus on the best interest of our children instead of self-interest.

Thank you Crystal……your words are MOST POWERFUL coming from a powerhouse on behalf of our children and PWDs—-thank you for chiming in, and more than that—THANK YOU for all you do.

We should indeed pursue policy changes that make kids THE priorityby lowering the student to school nurse ratios, but the bottom line is that it takes a village. Even a full-time school nurse cannot be in all places at all times so a small group of trained school personnel is a critical component to school diabetes care . Our kids deserve nothing less.

I just don’t understand how these laws have stayed on the books this long or why they even come into play in a school setting…any state law that contradicts the intent of equal access under Section 504 should on its face be easy to get around in a school setting. The nurses can follow the state nursing laws all you want, but OCR will take your funding for violating a child’s right to equal access under the law. Nursing laws have NOTHING to do with the responsibility the schools have to our children. Schools shouldn’t be concerned with nursing laws in any way, imo. Here in FL, the nurses do not even work for the school district – they work for the Dept of Health and are under contract to provide services to the school district. If they don’t want to do something, it is SO easy – we just remove them from the loop. I don’t need the nurse to do anything – the laibilty is on the school district; if they choose to use a third party to meet that responsiblity, that’s their choice. They’d better make sure their third party understands the 504 law. We had help from OCR to get the school district motivated enough to then make the Dept of Health change the policy for the nurses and the trained designees in our district. It meant a few battles, but with the help of OCR, we won them and rightly so. Schools cannot be held hostage by nursing unions and the like…they just cannot. It is part of why the system breaks down and everything bogs down into these ridiculous judicial arguements that normal people with common sense just cannot fathom. The schools are stuck in the middle of a bunch of other special interest crap whose last concern is the welfare of the kids. Makes me sick. It does NOT take a nurse to administer glucagon or insulin…or an epi-pen…or take a temperature or peek at a sore throat or bandage a cut or check for lice or perform CPR or use a defibulator and a myriad of other things we “mom nurses” and other trained people have been doing. Give me a break. We have had four school nurses now who had never seen an insulin pump, much less a cgms… and had certainly never been trained for anything approaching modern T1D care in children… they knew N and R protocols…what a crock. And they weren’t all older either! It definitely doesn’t take a nurse – what it takes is a well-trained person, period. Some letters behind your name or title doesn’t make someone any more qualified to do the job. A nursing shortage in schools should never equate to a care deficit for kids. This is basic stuff anyone well trained person can do.

You are are very lucky that you even have school nurses. In Michigan we do not have nurses in schools any more. Our five year old starts school next year. We finally have the daycare trained and now we have to start over with the administrators in the front office at his new school. We do not have an option for a school with a nurse. It is scary and I am sure that I will miss a lot of work time even with a 504 plan in place. This discussion is moot if you live in Michigan. If this was enacted here my son would not be able to go to school any more.

If you have a nurse in your school be thankful. If you don’t welcome to Michigan.

This year will be the last year my district in NY will have 2 full time and 1 part time RN. Next year there will only be 2. After having a meeting with the school the question was raised how many people in the building are certified to inject insulin in case of emergency? The answer was only the RNs this answer was not acceptable to the school social worker. I was asked how well I thought the teachers were educated on the signs of hypo or hyperglycemia , my response was ” not only are they unaware of the signs but they do not understand T1 at all. After I explained the regiment of checking BG and handling lows ( including the overnight lows that can disrupt sleep) those at the meeting were speechless. This month we will meet again to try and come up with an educate the educator program. My hope is to educate and bring awareness so people can better understand T1D. My school has 1200 students and of those there are 7 Heroes with T1D. My son is my #1.

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