Random thoughts. My EpiPen.


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.”

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.

3 Replies to “Random thoughts. My EpiPen.”

  1. I just don’t get this. Most of this technology has been off-patent. for decades.
    According to Wikipedia:
    “The first modern auto-injector, the EpiPen, was invented in the mid-1970s at Survival Technology in Bethesda, Maryland by Sheldon Kaplan.”
    “Adrenaline was first synthesized in the laboratory by Friedrich Stolz and Henry Drysdale Dakin, independently, in 1904.”
    So…….what was wrong with Kaplan’s 1970’s auto-injector?
    Consumer reports explains “How to Get the Cheaper EpiPen Alternative:”

  2. Good post. Add in the ever popular need for teachers to respond to emails about “every little thing” parents ask them to “watch for”, and “keep me informed”………..and you get the picture of why teachers have too little time, too few resources, and a lack of support.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Fred,
    I don’t know why you do not see this Fred. Please give the class an example of when a monopoly is beneficial, and explain why.
    There are some circumstances, but very few.

    Milton Freidman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s