Take My Breath Away

***Originally found via Instapundit.com.

This story just put my head on backwards. From clickOrlando.com:

DELTONA, Fla. – Volusia County School officials stand by a Deltona High School nurse’s decision to refuse a student his inhaler during an asthma attack, citing a lack of a parent’s signature on a medical release form.

….Michael Rudi, 17…said the school dean found his inhaler during a search of his locker last Friday. The inhaler was still in its original packaging — complete with his name and directions for its use; however, the school took it away because his mother hadn’t signed the proper form for him to have it.

Small biographical aside here: I’ve been married to the world’s prettiest asthmatic for 18 years. I’m intimately aware of the importance of her inhalers, and the dangers of her NOT having them.

So when I see the words “inhaler” and “school took it away “, I go a little crazy. Because common sense should tell you this little breather-thingy just might be kinda important. You know, to breathe and all.

Common sense. Yeah, like that was ever gonna happen:

School leaders called Sue Rudi when her son started having trouble breathing. She rushed to the office and was taken back to the nurse’s office by school administrators and they discovered the teen on the floor.

“As soon as we opened up the door, we saw my son collapsing against the wall on the floor of the nurse’s office while she was standing in the window of the locked door looking down at my son, who was in full-blown asthma attack,” Rudi said.

Michael Rudi said when he started to pass out from his attack, the nurse locked the door.

“I believe that when I closed my eyes I wasn’t going to wake up,” he said. The Director of Student Health Services, Cheryl Selesky, said that parents must sign the medical release form each year, which allows students to carry their prescribed drugs with them in school.

This year, the district had no record of his Rudi’s signature, said Selesky.

Ever seen anyone literally struggle to take their next breath? If you have, you are all too aware of how helpless you feel. There’s literally nothing you can do to assist this person. Unless, of course, you happen to be withholding the inhaler that will let them breathe again. THEN you might not feel so helpless.

I have two main beefs with this:

  1. ‘Nurse Ratched’, obviously. But I have just as big a problem with:
  2. the school. You’ve got the inhaler with the kid’s name on it, people!

I don’t care if the parents were too busy to sign it, or the kid forgot to give the parents the form, or they did sign it and he didn’t bring it back.

I. Don’t. Care.

Call them. Call the doctor. If you can be troubled to search his locker and take away his inhaler, you can just as surely take the necessary, immediate steps to ensure that this most critical of medicines isn’t denied to the kid that needs it to breathe!

Am I out on a limb here? Does that not seem fairly reasonable?

The fact that the school didn’t do this, ANY of it, takes my breath away.

9 responses to “Take My Breath Away

  1. Having been diagnosed with COPD twelve years ago, I get short of breath just listening to this story. The nurse should not only be fired, but stripped of her nursing credentials…across the country, so she cannot repeat this type of performance anywhere else. The school administrators need to enact
    “Emergency” policies that supercede this “paperwork BS” in this type of situation. The school district, administrators, nurse & anyone connected should be sued as a group. They should have to provide full medical benefits to this boy for the rest of his life along with paying for higher education ANYWHERE he wants to go to further his education. If he was not graduating so soon…they probably would have killed him in time. Is this their idea of “population control”? They need to be made an example of in this case. How many other cases have been mishandled? The Board of Education in this school district needs to “get educated” themselves. I have been on the floor…looking for that next breath that you think may not be there…I have been awake and afraid to go to sleep fearing that I may stop breathing and never wake up. They were all aware of this boy’s medical history…he may have been brain damaged in a very short time..what would they do then?
    Ken Johnston, Allison Park, Pa.

    • I’m with ya, Ken. And the short annswer is: we’ll never know. But I sure do want to see it in writing that they have a protocol in place to prevent this from ever happening again.

      Since the can’t just figure it out by themselves, they’ll need it to have it spelled out in the Handbook for them……………..

  2. “I don’t care if the parents were too busy to sign it, or the kid forgot to give the parents the form, or they did sign it and he didn’t bring it back. I. Don’t. Care.”

    Absolutely right, JTR. But you left out a fourth possibility—maybe the school lost the paperwork. This kind of thing DOES happen in bureaucracies, and boy, is our public education system one big bloated mess of a bureaucracy.

    The most common rationale given for mindlessly applying rules like this is to protect the school district from legal liability. (The real reason, I suspect, is to allow mindless educrats who don’t want to be bothered to simply go through the motions of doing their jobs every day without having to actually THINK about it.) If the school lost the paperwork…hoo boy, they’s in a heap o’ trouble.

    And the nurse, an alleged caregiver who apparently was prepared to watch a student die rather than give him a prescription that was clearly his, needs to be fired for gross negligence, callousness and stupidity. I doubt that will happen, but if it does she will of course be placed on paid leave for a few months first while a thorough investigation is conducted.

    This will be followed by the union helping her get her job back. Then she can go back to mindlessly applying the rules, probably at a different school in the same district. Then…I don’t even want to think about it.

    As you pointed out, one of the big problems in this country seems to be a dearth of common sense. And, in this case, compassion.

  3. Hatfield McCoy

    Common sense has been replaced by “zero tolerance” policies that dictate rigid obedience no matter what the circumstance.

    When I was in school (back in the 1900’s*) the medication would have been given to the student. The lack of a signed medical form would have been noted and sent home with the student to have the parent fill out and return so the school file would be in compliance.

    Paper work in order, student alive, no problem.

    • You got it, Hatfield, zero tolerance.That’s the phrase I could not remember this morning. The one that enables mindless educrats to…be mindless.

      Sometimes it stinks getting old. Time t’ go take m’ pills now.

  4. godsbooklover

    I’m hyperventilating, and I have no breathing problems at all.

    So many questions…why was the locker searched? Were they looking for someone to make an example of–a la the steak knife found in a senior’s car, or the toy gun in a 2nd grader’s bookbag?


    Is this more “crucify the first 5 villagers”?

    Did it escape the nurse and the other administrative staff who must surely have been present, that in violating one “policy” they could end up being liable for a student’s DEATH…which just might get the school in a mite more trouble????

    I’m glad JTR finds and reports these stories…but reading too many of them may give me a blood pressure problem.

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