Tragedy Averted When Girl Refuses Antihistamine, Demands Epinephrine from School Nurse

Here is a worthwhile read from

By Dave Bloom – 2018/01/02

After first denying a student with severe peanut allergy epinephrine, a Chicago high school administration has apologized and promised a review of its procedures.

On August 30, 15 year-old Lia Sommer took a bite from a turkey pesto sandwich in the school cafeteria and immediately sensed something was wrong. Accompanied by a friend, she rushed to the school nurse, who instructed her to take Benadryl, a common antihistamine used for minor symptoms of allergic reactions.

“Lia refused, knowing from previous experience that her symptoms would be masked by the antihistamine, though the anaphylactic reaction would not be halted, and would continue to silently and dangerously escalate undetected,” Lia’s mother, Lonnie Joy told the Chicago Tribune. “Instead of following Lia’s Allergy and Anaphylaxis Plan on file in the health office, which clearly states, ‘Give EpiPen First!’ the nurse opted to have her call me to confirm before administering epinephrine, with my daughter’s life held in the balance.”

After speaking with her daughter on the phone, Ms Sommer asked the school nurse if she had followed Lia’s emergency action plan by administering epinephrine and calling 911. The nurse responded “no” to both questions.

“I was shocked that a trained medical professional was either unaware of the most up-to-date protocol for anaphylaxis or unwilling to follow it,” Ms Sommer said. “I told her administer the EpiPen and call 911 immediately. She said it would be done, and confirmed I would meet the ambulance at Northwest Community Hospital.”

When Ms Sommer arrived at the hospital, she found Lia in the ER without a representative from her school administration to accompany her.

“It is ludicrous that a minor would be sent alone to a hospital during school hours with no personnel to represent her,” said Lonnie Joy. “I am horrified and saddened by the complete lack of common sense and compassion that predicated this decision.”

“The district sincerely apologizes for our mistakes. Student safety is always of the utmost importance, and we are working with the family to remedy the situation,” said Jennifer Delgado, a spokesperson for Township High School District 214 said.
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The district has agreed to pay Lia’s medical bills. At this writing, the school nurse is still employed at the high school.

A reminder for all parents of children coping with food allergy: the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made it absolutely clear in their clinical report entitled “Epinephrine for First-aid Management of Anaphylaxis”: Give epinephrine immediately when anaphylaxis is suspected.

Please be sure to develop an emergency action plan with your child’s doctor and discuss the instructions with your child’s school nurse and administration. The earlier epinephrine is administered when anaphylaxis is suspected, the better the outcome.

We at are firm believers that children deemed mature enough to carry epinephrine should be allowed to do so at school and self administer in an emergency.


No Grumble Apple Crumble


Apple crumble is another firm favorite in my house for dessert and sometimes even for breakfast.  It’s delicious hot or cold, on its own or with custard or ice-cream.  The ingredients are simple and it’s relatively quick to make (except for rubbing the butter into the flour mixture to make the breadcrumbs.)  I like to bake the apple crumbles in small pyrex dishes and freeze some so that I always have a tasty dessert that can be ready quickly.

To cook it without dairy, I substitute Energy Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread for butter.  This works well.

Rosti Bolognese Pie


This is a delicious and nutritious variation on good old Shepherd’s Pie.  It combines meat and five different vegetables.  The red pepper sauce (I make my own by mincing a jar of roasted red peppers in a blender) adds a sweet interest to the dish.  Rosti pie is the most frequently requested meal by my son.  He regularly wolfs down at least 2 of them for dinner.

In place of cheddar cheese, I use Daiya ‘mozzarella style shreds’ which melt quite well into the hot mashed potato.

Delicious Cookie Dough Bites


I bought these as a treat for my son, but the problem is, he can’t stop eating them!  Now I have to hide them at the back of the fridge otherwise he could gobble down a whole packet in one day.

These chocolate chip bites are quite expensive, but the pleasure of being able to eat cookie dough (which is often off limits to my son because of his allergy to dairy and egg) makes their price worth while.  They also come in snickerdoodle and sunbetter flavors.

Veggie Burgers


As a change from meat, we came upon these ‘supreme crispy quinoa vegetable burgers’ in The Pollan Family Table cookbook.  My very hungry son ate 3 of these in one sitting!  They are packed with plant protein from the quinoa and the beans, as well as nutritious carrots and scallions.  Plus they come with all vegetable toppings of a regular burger.  Even ketchup works well with them.

My son is allergic to eggs, so instead of using egg to bind the ingredients, we use Egg Replacer from Ener-G Foods.  This makes the veggie burgers a little looser than a regular burger, but with careful handling they keep their shape well enough.  Enjoy!