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Last week I testified before the Committee on Education of the Michigan House of Representatives, chaired by Lisa Posthumus Lyons,  regarding two bills being introduced about Epipens in our Michigan schools.   I was testifying on behalf of the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ) and as a parent.  And while I support the concept, I testified in opposition to the bills as written.

There are Many Children Who Suffer Serious, Life-Threatening Food Allergies if Triggered

Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, director of the University of Michigan Food Allergy Center, told the committee why the legislation is needed.  He estimates over 6 million children in the USA have food allergies, on average two children per classroom.  A severe reaction can be fatal, but immediate access to epinephrine can save a child’s life.  “You have a very small window when a reaction starts progressing and you won’t always have enough time to wait for an ambulance to reach the school.”

Unnecessary Language in the Bills About Gross Negligence Standard

As I indicated at the outset, the bills’ intent is good, but there is language in the bills as written that “essentially gives immunity” to doctors, pharmacists, and pharmacies.  Currently in Michigan, health care professionals are held to a “standard of care” of ordinary learning, judgment, or skill in the profession – a negligence standard.  These bills, as written, attempt to lower the standard of care we would accept for our children, and that is wrong.  Too many errors can happen.  Our children and families should be able to hold doctors or pharmacists accountable if they are negligent.

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