Young diabetics at heart of school nurse dispute

The L.A. Times just ran this article in regards to the recent news we shared: “California judge rules only nurses can give insulin to kids.”

If you want to thank the L.A. Times or send them any comments for shedding light on this issue, you can write to the editor here.

Liliana Parker, 8 years old and very cute, happened to be in front of the hippo display Friday morning at the Natural History Museum when it was time to check her blood sugar levels.

“It doesn’t really hurt,” Liliana said when her mother handed her a small finger-pricking and blood analysis device. “You only feel it for, like, two seconds.”

Liliana was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 6, and with no full-time nurse on her Westwood Charter School campus, she has had to learn how to take care of herself. In the Hall of African Mammals, Liliana drew a drop of blood from the tip of her left index finger, placed it on a test strip that slides into her device, then licked the finger clean with a giggle.

A digital monitor gave her a reading that was a bit high, she said, but not a big deal. It was liable to come down a bit before lunch.

Liliana was hanging out at the museum with her two 8-year-old buddies, Ellie Ross and Sebastian Doorhout Mees, who have learned to monitor her behavior and can often tell if her levels are too high or too low. Once, when Liliana’s blood sugar had dipped too low, red-headed Sebastian raced to the school office to get an adult.

It seems like ancient history now, but once upon a time we had nurses on every public school campus in California. Today, the state ranks near the bottom in national nurse-to-student ratios, with one nurse per every 2,200 students, making life more difficult for kids with medical conditions, including an estimated 15,000 with diabetes.

Last year, parents sued the state and forced a settlement in which nonmedical school employees would be trained to administer insulin to diabetic children. But then several nursing organizations filed their own suit, arguing that only medical professionals should be entrusted with such a responsibility. On Nov. 14, a Sacramento County judge ruled in the nurses’ favor.

Read the whole article here:,0,7760757.column

CALL TO ACTION from the American Diabetes to Association to the California Diabetes Community:

Last week we alerted you to a devastating ruling by a California trial court that struck down a provision of an agreement between the American Diabetes Association and the California Department of Education that allowed for trained non-medical school personnel in California to administer insulin when a nurse was not available.

The American Nurses Association, its California affiliate, the California School Nurses Organization, and the California Nurses Association challenged the agreement in court, taking the position that it requires “a substantial amount of scientific knowledge or technical skill” to follow a doctor’s orders on administering insulin in school and that means only a nurse can do it.

The health care professionals who have devoted their lives to caring for children with diabetes and the families who love them disagree. We know that insulin is safely administered by people who aren’t medical professionals millions of times every day, including in schools across the country who allow this practice.

We also know that there is only one school nurse for every 2700 California school students, that there is a severe statewide nursing shortage, that our state is facing a budget crisis, and that insulin could be needed at any time at school or at school-related activities. In short, we know that our children will not be safe at school if they need to rely on nurses who can’t possibly be there every time they are needed.

It’s time we let others know that the position taken by these nurse groups puts our children in danger and that allowing trained non-medical school employees to administer insulin when a nurse isn’t available is in the best interest of children with diabetes.

Please take action on this issue by letting your state assembly member and senator that it is time to put our state’s children first by giving them meaningful access to insulin at school. Take Action Now to send your letter! Go to:…