Friday Links – School Neglect, Stress Risk Factors, Bone Marrow

British Court Rules Student Asthma Death a Result of Neglect
When 11 year-old Sam Linton suffered an asthma flare at his school in December 2007, he apparently struggled for hours while no one called an ambulance. Later, he died in the hospital.

This grievous personal tragedy for the Linton family and the horrifying failure of Sam’s school underlines further the importance of keeping asthma and its potential for seriousness in the public eye.

If your kids are old enough, consider having a conversation about this story at home. I’ve told my daughter over and over again, for years, “Never – EVER – be afraid of ‘talking back’ or raising your voice or whatever at school if it involves your asthma. If you need serious help and someone’s not listening, you make them listen and understand it’s an emergency.” So far, through four different schools in two different states, she’s never needed the advice.

More Evidence of Link Between Asthma and Stress During Pregnancy
There’s a longer post percolating on this one, so I’ll withhold my comments for now.

War Makes People Twice as Likely to Develop Asthma
This study of Kuwaiti citizens who lived through the 1990 invasion and occupation suggests war conditions double the risk of asthma in civilians, adding to the bulk of research on stress and its long-term impacts on health.

Bone Marrow Transplants for Severe Asthma
No, really. Check out this future possibility for patients who don’t respond well to current treatments.

Spring Allergy Triggers
Pollen tips from earlier this week

17 responses to “Friday Links – School Neglect, Stress Risk Factors, Bone Marrow”

  1. kerri says:

    Whoa. That bone marrow transplant article is AWESOME.

  2. Sarah says:

    I read about that yesterday. It scared the crap out of me, because I could very well have been that kid when I was little. I had several severe attacks at school, and received essentially the same treatment. In all but one of my schools, they wouldn’t let kids carry their own medications. All medications had to be kept at the office. Even epipens and ventolin. As a girl in my class who had a life-threatening bee sting allergy pointed out, “By the time they make it to the office and back, I’m already dead.” Those of use with sensible parents just carried our medications anyway, and hid them from the teachers, figuring that a two week suspension for daring to carry our much-needed meds against the rules would beat dying.

    Sadly, I can name a number of situations from my childhood schools that parallel this: The times that I was sent to the office alone to get my inhaler when I was having a severe asthma attack (before I told my parents and got my own inhaler to carry) and then put in the in-school suspension room so I wouldn’t bug the secretary with my coughing, the time when a kid fell off the slide and broke his leg, and a school volunteer had to drive him to the hospital because the administration was too worried about getting sued for calling an ambulance and sending him to the hospital without permission (as a result, the kid had permanent nerve damage, since they wouldn’t let the volunteer even splint his leg for the drive). The time they told a girl in my class she was “just faking” her peanut allergy to get out of a test (she then pretended to need to go to the bathroom, took her epi-pen, and walked down to the office to beg the thankfully-level-headed secretary to call an ambulance). And so on. It’s just luck that none of those incidents resulted in death.

    Incompetence maims. Incompetence kills. There needs to be better education of school administrations about first-aid and common chronic childhood conditions, because otherwise, stuff like that is going to keep happening.

  3. SnjMom says:

    I read that article yesterday and was so sad for that boy and scared for my daughter. Her school seems to be good with asthma. Luckily my daughter hasn’t been in that scary of a situation. But we had a talk last night (didn’t mention this boy dying) and asked her alot of questions about what she would do if someone wasn’t listening to her but she felt she need help.

    And she has an inhaler in her backpack even though it is only supposed to be in the nurses office.

  4. Amy Anaruk says:

    Sarah–Those are horrifying stories. You know, I can’t remember anything similar from my childhood, but then–I was rarely in the clinic, myself, so I probably just didn’t notice.

    My daughter’s schools have even been good about sending someone else to bring the nurse or clinic aide TO my kid, with her inhaler, (before she carried one) the couple of times she was having a truly hard time. I wish all schools were like that–this poor family.

    SnjMom–Hopefully she’ll never been in a similar scenario–I’m glad the talk went well!

  5. Carolyn says:

    I just posted about this too – so sad. The strength Sam’s parents possess to advocate for asthma awareness so soon after his passing is just exceptional. What a tragic loss!

  6. Sarah says:

    Amy – Being an army brat, I moved around to a lot of schools. Either I had ridiculously bad luck 7 out of 8 of the times I switched schools (the remaining 1 of 8 was very very good about stuff), or that kind of incompetence is a lot more common than most people would think.

    Fortunately, if it’s incompetence born of ignorance, it’s easily fixed. If it’s incompetence born of mindless adherence to “the rules”, then it won’t be fixed for a long time. I don’t think it’s malicious, just dangerous.

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