Tuesday, October 09, 2012

CYA Red Tape Madness

This news report came to my attention in May of this year.  Little did I know at the time that our family would face such similar circumstances just months later.  Ironically the similarities of what 17 year-old high school student, Michael Rudi endured don't end with sharing first names and nearly identical last names with my son.

  • Both he and my son have asthma. A very treatable but potentially life threatening condition.
  • Both he and my son rely on their school nurse to administer treatment while on campus.
  • Both he and my son have to produce the medicine with the prescription labels that show their full name and the recommended dosage.
  • Both he and my son have to have a parental permission slip filled out so the school can take such actions when necessary.
  • Both he and my son have school nurses that emphasize documentation over heathcare.

This is where the two stories diverge a bit but not so-much-so that I have full confidence that this seventeen year olds experience couldn't one day be ours.  It seems the elder Michael had an asthma attack at school.  The school nurse could not find his parental permission slip although she had his medicine that had its proper labels and instructions.  Instead of rendering aid, she locked Michael in her office and refused to give him his meds.  And instead of calling 911 she called the boys mother.  His mother asked her to call 911, that she was on her way, and to please dispense his medicine.  The nurse complained that she needed to leave at two o'clock and could not be bothered with these requests and left the teen to die on the floor gasping for air.  Thankfully he didn't die but this was due to his mother arriving in time, not due to the nurses intervention.

Now...in my situation, my son does have the permission slip on file as well as the prescription that has his name on it and the dosage requirements.  Thankfully he has not had a significant breathing problem other than his normal wheezing at school but I now wonder after my run-in with his school nurse if there isn't significant potential for a repeat of this story.  Upon asking her to give him a dose at 10AM and 2PM, she tells me that she cannot do this without doctor's orders.  I pointed to the prescription label which clearly states to dispense every four hours.  She said, yes AS NEEDED in a very rude tone.  But you are asking me to dispense at very specific times, not as needed.  I said, well...he does need it and the last dose was at 6AM, so his next dose will be at 10AM and the next after that will be 2PM.  She claimed the best she could do, given the instructions, is pull my son out of class and listen to his chest to determine if he needed a dose.  Even if I could dismiss the slap in my face for insulting my ability to care for my son and this medical problem that he's had since birth, the fact that she implies that her medical opinion is somehow going to trump what two different PhD's have asked us to do, was absurd and uncalled for.  I finally got our doctor to send her specific instructions detailing the two times to dispense as she asked but it wasn't without severe and unnecessary aggravation caused by her combative and arrogant attitude with me.  Furthermore the reason that perscriptions say every four hours and don't specify a time of day is because each of us begin our day and our first dose of medicine at different times.  When the C.Y.A. mentality has reached the level of being rude, combative, counter-productive, and potentially violates the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, then it has gone much, much too far!

I am really starting to understand why so many parents these days choose to home school!