This morning I read Dave McKinney’s Reuters story about how Mylan manipulated allergy bloggers, mostly mothers of children with serious allergies, into lobbying state legislatures to require schools to stock epinephren injectors, the main one being the brand, EpiPen.
Then Mylan jacked up the price to $600 a twin pack, helping them become a billion dollar company by cornering the market by selling 90% of the epinephren injectors.
A free market indeed.
McKinney tells a sordid tale.
Unrelated to the profit-gaugers in Big Pharm, this all reminded me of my little corner of the world that was not at all sordid. Just a little scary. It says a lot about what teachers are asked to do and what we do in spite of our fears and hesitations.
Remember this as you read stories about the greedy teachers union bargaining a contract.
Years ago I had a student, one among many over the years, who was severely allergic to bee stings.
All the teachers who had this student were rounded up in the nurse’s office and handed an orange and an EpiPen. This was to be our training.
We practiced stabbing the orange with the EpiPen.
“You have about a two-minute window if Billy gets stung,” the nurse explained.
“Two minutes. Or what?”
The nurse lifted her head and look at us with that look.
“Holy shit,” one of my colleagues blurted out.
She turned to me, as I was the union rep in the building.
I understood her fear. “We have Billy in front of us. We have to do what we have to do,” I said.
Over the years I have had lots of different medical stuff on and in my desk. Stuff for allergies. Stuff for diabetes.
I had lists of dozens of children with a range of medical conditions with a red cover marked confidential.
What to look for. What accommodations to make. How quickly to act.
As the Art teacher in the building who saw every student, I needed to know all of it pretty much by memory.
“If Nancy starts getting suddenly drowsy, get her to the nurses office. Don’t send her with another student. You must take her. You have about two minutes.”
What I was to do with the rest of the class was never really explained.
Juice boxes. Orange flavored sugar tablets. Medical emergency bags brought by the student to hang on the Art room door.
Just in case.
A teachers job.