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Author Topic: The case against epi-pen  (Read 3553 times)
phill
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« on: June 07, 2012, 08:12:13 AM »

Stings don't bother me much. Some swelling sometimes; no big deal. No one in my family is very sensitive.

Still, when he heard that I was keeping bees, my doctor suggested getting an epi-pen just in case. ("Just in case" could mean a guest is stung and turns out to be allergic.) I took his advice, got one, and it sat unused in the cupboard for a few years, until I noticed that it was long past its expiration date.

So I got a new prescription. But then I noticed the price. Ouch! I'm not poor, but I'm not rich enough to pay $100+ for something that just sits on the shelf for a year and then needs replacement.

Also:
   - No guest has ever been stung in my yard, and not many people are really allergic
   - Even if a guest DOES need it, and you do use it, you could face a lawsuit anyway.
   - You can't use an adult-sized epi-pen on a child, and I figure visiting kids are more likely to be stung.
And perhaps most important:
   - Where we live is 5 minutes from a hospital. Rather than fumbling with a device I don't know how to use, I'd be better off rushing a victim to the ER.

Does this reasoning make sense to others?
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JackM
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2012, 08:17:19 AM »

Some, but not completely.  That expiration date isn't set in concrete except for the printing.  And, $100 is cheap compared to the urgency of a true anaphylactic reaction.  
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2012, 08:42:04 AM »

Hmmm...its really a question of whether you like playing the odds or if you're risk adverse.
I would think that someone who is very allergic to bee stings -- to the point of it being a medical emergency -- would carry a sting kit with them and not rely on you having or not having an epi-pen available, since a sting can occur anywhere, not just in your yard. Bees fly up to mile away from the hive, I've read.
Also, most people who hear I keep bees in the backyard and have a problem with that due to allergies or irrational fear, either don't come over or stay in the house when they do.
Lastly, according to the websites linked below, 40-50 people a year die from bee stings (nationwide) and children are less likely to have a severe reaction since presumably they've had less chance to be sensitize to the venom.  So, unless you're hosting thousands of people a year in your backyard, in my mind the odds are slim that someone will have a severe allergic reaction to a sting.
Personally, I don't have a epi-pen.
http://www.nasdonline.org/document/962/d000800/first-aid-for-bee-and-insect-stings.htmlk
http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site2909/mainpageS2909P1.html
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shinbone
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2012, 09:33:33 AM »

I have one.  Perscribed to me by my veterinarian.  If a person is stung by my bees and goes into anaphylactic shock, I would feel responsible for their suffering.  If I am by myself and get stung and go into A-shock, I am not sure I could call 911 or drive myself to an emergency room while my airway is closing down.  The $ cost seems a small price to pay to protect against even a small risk of A-shock.  

A long time ago a friend and I were working his bees.  He got stung in the neck.  He had been stung many times before, but this time he went into A-shock.  He went to the emergency room and everything was fine after they treated him.  But after watching that incident, I realize anaphylaxis can happen to anyone at any time and it is scary.  

Seems pointless to me to have bees and forego having an Epipen.  What's the benefit of taking such a risk?  Especially when it may involve other people and my bees.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 04:45:51 PM by shinbone » Logged

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kathyp
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2012, 10:00:44 AM »

i have a standing prescription.  i got it because of the kind of reactions i have and not knowing which way they might go.  i renew them about a year after the expiration date and keep the old ones for chemical warfare involving neuro toxins  evil

getting them is a call you have to make for yourself.  that close to medical help, you wish to take the chance.  i'd check your ambulance response time and consider that while you may have time to stab yourself, you may not have time or facilities to make a phone call.

and...shop your prescriptions.  if it's not covered by insurance then where you get it is up to you.  walmart?   grin
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 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2012, 10:26:54 AM »

Stings don't bother me much. Some swelling sometimes; no big deal. No one in my family is very sensitive.

Still, when he heard that I was keeping bees, my doctor suggested getting an epi-pen just in case. ("Just in case" could mean a guest is stung and turns out to be allergic.) I took his advice, got one, and it sat unused in the cupboard for a few years, until I noticed that it was long past its expiration date.

So I got a new prescription. But then I noticed the price. Ouch! I'm not poor, but I'm not rich enough to pay $100+ for something that just sits on the shelf for a year and then needs replacement.

Also:
   - No guest has ever been stung in my yard, and not many people are really allergic
   - Even if a guest DOES need it, and you do use it, you could face a lawsuit anyway.
   - You can't use an adult-sized epi-pen on a child, and I figure visiting kids are more likely to be stung.
And perhaps most important:
   - Where we live is 5 minutes from a hospital. Rather than fumbling with a device I don't know how to use, I'd be better off rushing a victim to the ER.

Does this reasoning make sense to others?


Practice using the pen, using something like a pen or an object similar in size and shape, also 5 minutes is a long time for someone suffering an allergic reaction. If you are concerned with Liabilities and Lawsuits, do not allow non-beekeepers near your Hives or have them suit up completely.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2012, 11:59:06 AM »

If you don't get the pen, make sure you have Benadryl gel caplets available. They give you an extra 20 minutes to get medical attention. I had an attack from antacid tablets. I knew I was in trouble due to being a beekeeper and took 2 Benadryl caplets then I woke up my wife. After checking me over she called 911. When the medical team arrived and checked me over, they said that my wife could drive me to the hospital because of having taken the Benadryl. If you have a reaction and take the Benadryl, still go to the hospital and at minimum be in the building in case it gets worse. They did treat me and gave me some shots to keep it under control.
I now have the pen and the Benadryl.
Jim
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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2012, 12:56:34 PM »

sawdust, even better than the gel caps is the childrens liquid.  i get it at the dollar store and have bottles in the truck, barn, house...

because it's a low dose per tsp, i don't worry about chugging it. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2012, 01:55:04 PM »

I need one as well and this thread reminds me of the fact and I am glad I ran into it being I have a doc appointment this coming Monday.  I have just lost a loved one very close to me.  A life is worth a lot more than a cheap $100 dollar insurance policy.  Its an easy choice for me, hopefully my insurance will pay for it but either way I'll get at least one.
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AllenF
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2012, 06:48:58 PM »

Back in the day, 30 years ago, my mother got stung several times, each a month or so apart by bees.   And by the last time, we had to take her to the hospital because the reactions to the stings had gotten to bad.   She got an epi-pen and for years and never used it.    She has not been stung since then.   She stays inside now.  Bad reactions are scary.   But if a visitor gets stung, I would not want to be liable for having the pen around.   I am not a doctor.  I have sting ease wipes to make it less itchy if anyone ever got stung.  That is as strong as I want to carry.   And more people die from fire ants than bees.   
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splitrock
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2012, 06:05:08 AM »

I keep one in the truck and in the house,,,,,, I've seen people in a-shock, and as said before, it is very scary.  You just never know when one could come in handy.

Joel
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2012, 07:28:57 AM »

I keep one in the truck and in the house,,,,,
Joel

The one kept in the truck is good too GO, it's been cooked in the heat so many times it' fresh as a daisy !

Storage " 77 degrees "

Bee-Bop
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 07:42:06 AM by Bee-Bop » Logged

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AndrewT
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2012, 08:07:46 AM »

Phil,

You're reasoning makes perfect sense to me.  I'm probably more like 20 minutes from an emergency room and I see no need to keep an epi-pen.  When I read your post, I honestly expected most to agree with you and I'm surprised that so many are so adamant about having one.

I'd be more worried that someone would get stung and I'd use the pen and find out that they were allergic to the preservative in the pen or something.  Me, I'll take my chances.  I hear a lot of people say they are allergic, or know someone who is, but I've never heard a credible story of someone who died from a bee sting (besides AHB).
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JackM
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2012, 08:14:01 AM »

Well Andrew, you obviously have never seen an A reaction.  You have about 3 minutes.  You would think overwhelming response to one way would convince the cheapskates. 

There are no preservatives in epinephrine.  It is a pure natural chemical produced by the adrenal glands.  The biggest risk is overspeeding someone's heart for a little while.
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D Semple
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2012, 08:46:32 AM »

sawdust, even better than the gel caps is the childrens liquid.  i get it at the dollar store and have bottles in the truck, barn, house...

because it's a low dose per tsp, i don't worry about chugging it. 

Great advice that I meant to write you a thankyou about. Saw you post this last year and I put a bottle of Children's Benidryl liquid in my truck.

4 weeks ago got into a huge removal with tearable bees in a tough place to get them out. Have no clue how many stings I took, probably over 50. Your liquid Benidryl advice saved me a ton of discomfort and let me finish the job. Thanks Kathy


Haven't ever had to use it, but I keep an Epipen also in our first aid kit, worth it to me for the peace of mind.

Don
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kathyp
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2012, 09:36:24 AM »

 Wink  but did you get the vagisil?  evil

hey, you are welcome.  that's what this site is all about...
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2012, 10:05:58 AM »

Wink  but did you get the vagisil?  evil


No, when your a guy somethings get put into the "way to much effort to explain" catagory, so you just don't do them.  embarassed

I'll try it sometime, bound to be some in the house somewhere amongst the hundreds of bottles of lotions, creams, soaps, makeups, baby powder, bubble baths, vitamins, nail polish, etc, etc, etc.  evil

On second thought I'd rather be miserable. no way I'd ever find it, and I wouldn't want to get caught looking for it. 
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beek4018
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2012, 11:05:23 AM »

Hmmm...its really a question of whether you like playing the odds or if you're risk adverse.
I would think that someone who is very allergic to bee stings -- to the point of it being a medical emergency -- would carry a sting kit with them and not rely on you having or not having an epi-pen available, since a sting can occur anywhere, not just in your yard. Bees fly up to mile away from the hive, I've read.
Also, most people who hear I keep bees in the backyard and have a problem with that due to allergies or irrational fear, either don't come over or stay in the house when they do.
Lastly, according to the websites linked below, 40-50 people a year die from bee stings (nationwide) and children are less likely to have a severe reaction since presumably they've had less chance to be sensitize to the venom.  So, unless you're hosting thousands of people a year in your backyard, in my mind the odds are slim that someone will have a severe allergic reaction to a sting.
Personally, I don't have a epi-pen.
http://www.nasdonline.org/document/962/d000800/first-aid-for-bee-and-insect-stings.htmlk
http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site2909/mainpageS2909P1.html


Brooklyn,

It's not the person with a known allergy that is troubling.  You're right, that person will most likely carry a kit (especially if they are headed to a beekeeper's house). 

The real trouble is someone ( like my wife) who has never been stung and doesn't know if she's allergic or not.  Odds are, she's not.  But do you want to be responsible for the visitor to your house who gets stung, and finds out in the worst possible way that they are allergic, and you're unprepared?
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« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2012, 02:49:57 PM »

"But if a visitor gets stung, I would not want to be liable for having the pen around.   I am not a doctor.  I have sting ease wipes to make it less itchy if anyone ever got stung."

What?  Is this supposed to be like having a sign that says beware of the dog and supposedly make you liable?  Give me a break, if you are more worried about being sued than saving a life then dont have visitors over please or have them sign a waver for heavens sake.

I have incorporated to try to cover liability in case some terrible unfortunate circumstance were to happen to me but I would think you would be found more negligent not even having a simple epi-pen when you are certainly aware since you are a beekeeper that some people are allergic to a bee sting which you have likely had hundreds or more of over the years.  If I were sitting on a jury I would defiantly have consider whether an experienced commercial beekeeper was negligent for someones death because they did not have an simple epi-pen handy.  Of course circumstances always matter but this is serious stuff.  You need to breath and if you cant breath your are dead meat real quick and a hospital ten minutes away may not do any good if you cant breath for ten minutes.
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JackM
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« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2012, 09:40:57 AM »

BeeNuts.  This is true, you are not a physician, but you could offer one to them if they are having trouble breathing and have a major reaction, let them make the choice.
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« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2012, 09:45:02 AM »

it's a sad day when we are forced to worry about liability before life.  i have them.  i'd use them.  guess i'd throw myself on the mercy of the jury and hope for the best....of course there are always those civil suits....
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2012, 10:30:58 AM »

....if obama was to visit my apiary, I may kick a few hives over, but would never risk hurting him with an epi-pen! Just sayin.
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JackM
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« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2012, 12:56:52 PM »

Gotta watch statements like that the SS may come knocking on your door:)
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« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2012, 01:54:24 AM »

If someone starts having a bad reaction I will bring them to the hospital, if they cant breath I will offer the epen if I have one.  Are they going to sue me for trying to save their life?  Good God, give me a break with the your not a doctor but I should offer them one.

Ill use good old common country boy give a crap judgement calls and screw the liability baloney sandwiches.

That said, I dont have many visitors to my yard and I dont just let any bone head come along.  Country boys n girls are welcome.  I have had a few requests for lessons and if the day comes that I actually have a few folks out to my main yard for some beekeeping 101 they will be signing wavers before they get within a hundred yards of the bee yard.  They will sign away the right to sue Me for anything that happens that day or any day in the future on or off my property for anything period or they can leave the same way they came.  I dont have time for madness.
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« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2012, 09:01:27 PM »

Great thread, Phill. I have never even considered having an Epi-Pen around. $100 is ridiculous and the odds of getting it renewed are low. But I'm thinking about it more after reading everyone's comments. And children's Benadryl I can do. Might even have to get the Vagisil after the nasty sting I took today.  grin
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AndrewT
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« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2012, 09:50:11 AM »

This thread reminds me of a job I had years ago, doing pesticide toxicology work in Northern Texas and Northeastern New Mexico.  Since we spent a lot of time walking through range land and scrubby field edges, we were all supplied with a complete snake bite kit from our lab office, but then told unofficially by the field supervisor never to use it if someone was bitten. 

I never drive or ride in a car without a seat belt, and I keep fire extinguishers in my house and garage, but my preparation for bee stings extends no further than a veil, a suit, and gloves (and maybe whiskey).

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« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2012, 07:42:14 PM »

Wow, we've come down to being worried about being sued trying to save someones life? As has been mentioned on numerous occassions on this thread as a beekeeper we have a responsibility to ensure that we protect those who don't make the choice to be stung i.e. we're the idiots who choose to open a hive of stinging little critters! what about the little kid or adult that doesn't make that choice and gets stung inadvertently? as they're dying do we look at them and say "I'm so sorry my bees stung you - you should have had an epipen"... grow up and take some responsibility! if something you're doing poses a risk to someone else then take measures to protect them! if you don't know how/when to use an epipen then learn! a first aid course and an epipen are a small price to pay! i don't think you'd get many people complaining/taking legal action for saving their life! it takes less than 3mins for someone to die from asphyxiation due to an anaphylactic reaction! living '5mins' from the hospital is no justification - if that makes you sleep better at night and feel that you've done all that you can to save that persons life, knowing the risks, then please put a sign at the entrance telling people that in the event they're stung and have an allergic reaction the best you 'might' do is hand them a phone to call emergency services
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« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2012, 07:55:58 AM »

Talking with my primary care physician, it is just good common sense to be prepared.   This like so many other issues is personal preference.
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« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2012, 08:11:09 AM »

I certainly do understand that most who claim they are "deadly allergic" to bees are not...but that doesn't mean that some people aren't.  It is ignorant and irresponsible for beekeepers to delude themselves to think that it doesn't happen (I heard one local bee instructor say that all severe reactions were from wasps and hornets, not honeybees).

I knew Peter Sitzman through much of my childhood...went to his bday parties, sang in the jr high chorus with him (I'll never forget his booming solo part on "John Henry"), etc.

Peter died of allergic reaction to honeybee stings....it does happen, and to pretend that it doesn't is foolish, ignorant, and irresponsible.  This isn't to say that you need to carry an epipen, or that you should use it on someone for whom it isn't prescribed (an epipen should be used only if you are also calling an ambulance...it is not a cure for anything...it just buys you some time).

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F02E0DF133AF937A15754C0A9619C8B63
SITZMAN--Peter Jared , 38 of Sparta, New Jersey and previously of Lexington, Massachusetts died suddenly July 19, 2007 of a massive allergic reaction triggered by bee stings. He leaves his loving parents, Gloria and Dr. Steven Sitzman; brother Michael R. Sitzman; aunts and uncles: Dr. Matthew Gromet and Phyllis Schultz of Charlotte, North Carolina; Rosalind and Dr. Martin Stark of Reston, Virginia; and Leslie Sussman of Atlanta, Georgia. Pete was a favorite among his cousins: Melanie and Steven Glick and son Noah; Dan Gromet; Andrew Stark and Rebecca Gordon; AJ and Heather Sussman and son Andrew; and Nancy Effros and son Johnnie. Peter graduated from Williston North Hampton in 1987 and received his BA from the University of Rochester in 1991. He earned his MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia. Pete was a freelance high-end photo retoucher for the pharmaceutical industry. His ready smile, infectious laugh, and warm, loving manner will be sorely missed. Graveside ceremony and burial was held Sunday July 22nd at Mount Ararat Cemetery, East Farmingdale, New York. A memorial service will be held at Temple Isaiah, Lexington, Massachusetts at 1pm Tuesday July 24th. In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Peter's honor to an animal shelter of your choice.
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« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2012, 08:27:55 AM »

If someone starts having a bad reaction you call 911 first.  Whether you have a pen or not.....Unless you are out in the boonies far away from EMS.

Good Post Deknow....actually this whole thread has been good.  But you are not liable to have an epi-pen for others.  You actually could get in a lot of trouble.... So. 

Call the ambulance, they have what they need and probably can get to you before you can get to the hospital safely.
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« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2012, 08:31:37 AM »

Jack, if that were the case, no one would need an epipen.  They are never a cure or a treatment...they are a time buying tactic.  They are always to be used as precursor to a hospital visit.  If it was a forgone conclusion that help can arrive in time, no one would carry an epipen.

deknow
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« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2012, 12:11:30 PM »

By the time you call 911 and figure out your friend cant breath or speak any more and the 911 operator gives you the permission you so desperately need  to use the epi-pen, I would have administered it with the oral consent of my client and be to or almost to the hospital by the time an ambulance is pulling out of the garage and finally arrives to administer CPR to a lifeless corpse. 



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« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2012, 12:50:27 PM »

...I'd be surprised if a 911 dispatcher would "give you permission" to use an epi pen prescribed for one person on another.

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« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2012, 01:53:23 PM »

...I'd be surprised if a 911 dispatcher would "give you permission" to use an epi pen prescribed for one person on another.

deknow

I would be too!  Another reason why I would not waist my time calling them!
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« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2012, 04:32:11 PM »

calling 911 first is the correct thing to do in any emergency.  this gets help on it's way.  what you decide to do after depends on you and the circumstances.  epi pens will give you a chance for quick and temporary relief.  that's why they say you should have two.  one may not last long enough for help to get to you.
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« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2012, 02:30:13 AM »

How many of your visits to er did were followed by a 911 call?  Ill get them to the hospital before 911 needs to be called unless they fall over on me before I can react.  You can give all the scenarios you want about what is legally right in any situation but real life is not a debate.  If someone is having a hard time breathing, Ill bet my bottom dollar they tell me to hit them with the pen and then we will haul donkey to the hospital NOW!  Ill call 911 on the way if I have to.  I dont worry about the legal baloney when crap hits the fan, and if it comes to court, thats what a jury of peers is for, common sense.
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« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2012, 06:05:16 AM »

How many of your visits to er did were followed by a 911 call?  Ill get them to the hospital before 911 needs to be called unless they fall over on me before I can react.  You can give all the scenarios you want about what is legally right in any situation but real life is not a debate.  If someone is having a hard time breathing, Ill bet my bottom dollar they tell me to hit them with the pen and then we will haul donkey to the hospital NOW!  Ill call 911 on the way if I have to.  I dont worry about the legal baloney when crap hits the fan, and if it comes to court, thats what a jury of peers is for, common sense.


 lau lau lau lau lau lau lau lau lau lau lau


   BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2012, 07:29:42 AM »

You folks take your risks, I will take mine, I have the medical education and experience to know what is proper, legal, and best for the patient..  I gave my retired professional advice.  Your choices are yours.  No need to argue, was just trying to give good quasi medical advice.

Everyone has a different situation and that makes the whole thing fluid with many optional roads to travel.
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