Each morning and afternoon as 8-year-old Maddie Psaila sits on the bus on her way to school, her mom Karen worries that the girl's life could be in danger if she comes into contact with a classmate’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Staff at Maddie’s elementary school in the Southern Lehigh School District are permitted to administer an epinephrine auto-injector if her severe allergy causes her to go into anaphylactic shock. But the bus drivers, contractors from an outside company, would be forced to just stand by and watch should the girl suffer a potentially fatal allergic response.
“The bus drivers are fearful that if they administer the Epi-Pen auto-injector and there is a bad outcome, they will be personally sued,” Karen wrote in a letter asking for support of Pennsylvania House Bill 2049.
- Hear more from Karen Psaila and why she's making this push on NBC10 News at 4 p.m. today.
The bill, introduced by Pa. State Rep. Justin Simmons (R -131st) in February, would amend the Public School Code of 1949 to allow drivers who complete a training program to administer the Epi-Pen auto-injector under a Good Samaritan civil immunity.
“If they administer the medication and there is a bad outcome, they would be protected just as teachers and personnel in the school building are protected,” Karen wrote. “The bill should relieve the apprehension that the bus drivers have and make for a safer bus ride for all kids who need the life-saving medication.”
The medical device is easy-to-use and there are even high-tech options that have a recording instructing the administrator how to use it, she said.
The concerned mother worked with lawmakers to craft the bill, which is being reviewed by the education committee. The legislation already has the support of Simmons and the 29 House members who co-sponsored it.
Plus Karen is leading the charge to get other parents in the Southern Lehigh School District on board, writing: "The bill is a step in the right direction for there to be safe traveling on the school bus for all kids who carry an epi-pen auto injector for anaphylaxis."