The death of Natalie Giorgi, a 13 years old girl from Sacramento, has helped reshape the California laws concerning the availability of EpiPens in public schools and campgrounds. Giorgi died in the arms of her mother in 2013, after she took a bite from an unmarked Rice Krispie treat. Her peanut allergy was too severe, and the EpiPens used to help her proved to be useless.
The Giorgi family was enjoying a July day at Camp Sacramento when 13 years old Natalie found a Rice Krispie that she tasted. The girl only got to taste the treat, not swallow it, when she experienced a severe allergic reaction that led to her untimely death. Her mother was holding her in her helpless arms when she ultimately lost the ability to breathe on her own.
The EpiPens that the camp had were not helpful, and an ambulance came too late to be of any help.
After the horrible incident, Natalie’s parents came up with the Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Foundation with the sole purpose of raising awareness on food allergies, especially the hidden danger that they represent.
The April 2014 testimony of Joanne Giorgi led to the adoption of a new law stating that all Californian public schools must be equipped with EpiPens and have at least one staff member trained for such situations.
However, the new law provisions only cover unforeseen situations, for example, children with an unknown allergy. In the case of those who are aware of their allergies, the parents are still required to bring their own EpiPens.
Camp Sacramento mentioned in an official statement that it will be implementing the new requirements, thus becoming accredited by the National Camping Association.
EpiPens have been a subject of controversy on their own this past few weeks as their prices continue to plummet, more and more people being put in a situation in which they must pay over $500 to replace their EpiPens every year, per requirements.
The medicine can only be stored for one year, and giving the fact that an expired injection may draw the line between life and death during an allergic reaction episode, people with allergies, or parents with children that are known to have food allergies are obligated to make sure that their medicine is up to date.
The costs of creating a free EpiPen reserve in schools, one that will be available to all children are too high even to be taken into consideration.
Image source: Wikipedia