When a severe allergic reaction causes blood pressure to plunge or the airways to close, a dose of epinephrine can make all the difference in survival. A recent study has revealed a frightening fact that caregivers are often too slow to reach for an EpiPen, the brand name for the device that dispenses epinephrine.
According to the study, when children who experience serious allergy attacks with anaphylaxis, parents, teachers, other caregivers, and emergency responders failed to administer epinephrine. This occurred with children who experienced anaphylactic reactions in the past and were prescribed an epinephrine injector.
The study analyzed more than 400 patient records for children and young adults, with a median age of seven, and found that only 36 percent of patients suffering from anaphylaxis had received epinephrine before arriving at the emergency room. Approximately 65 percent of those patients had a history of anaphylaxis, and half of them had been prescribed the drug before. Of those who had been prescribed epinephrine, only about 70 percent had the medication with them at the time of the reaction.
There is a significant difference in outcomes between those who were given epinephrine before arriving at the emergency room and those who were not. Those who had received the drug beforehand were 60 percent more likely to be discharged rather than admitted.
It has been speculated that parents and caregivers are not familiar enough with the symptoms of anaphylaxis, which include hives, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea that occurs within two hours of contact with an allergen. If a child has a history of anaphylaxis and any signs of breathing obstructions, such as lip swelling or tightness in the throat or lungs, this should be an indicator that epinephrine is needed.
If your child experienced an anaphylactic reaction and was not properly treated, contact the skilled medical malpractice lawyers in New Jersey at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP at 732-777-0100, or contact us online for a free consultation. Our offices are centrally located in Red Bank, Toms River, and Edison, and we serve clients throughout New Jersey.