Monday, May 18, 2009
Two weeks ago, Ashley was injured at school. The teacher called me and said she was going to keep Neosporin in the cuts on Ashley’s hand and that she had tried putting a bandage on also, but Ashley would not keep it on.
Ashley still deals with sensory defensiveness, most likely related to the fact that she is deafblind, and she will not wear a bandage unless she is sedated.
I assumed that the injury was not too bad since the teacher didn’t mention taking Ashley to the school nurse. But, when she arrived home from school that same afternoon, I realized that assumption was incorrect.
The cuts on Ashley’s hands were dirty, red and swollen. I immediately took her to the pediatrician, and he prescribed a 14 day course of antibiotics.
I sent a note in the school the next day advising the teacher of the doctor’s treatment, and also asked why Ashley was not taken to the school nurse. The answer shocked me.
The school nurse was off the day that Ashley was injured. And, there was no substitute or backup nurse.
Besides the fact that there are several children in the school with significant disabilities, and who like Ashley are prone to seizures, any child in that school could be injured at any time. There could be accidents in gym class – there could be an onset of serious illness – there could be an injury in chemistry class – etc. etc. But on this particular day, and who knows how many other days – no licensed medical personnel were present.
So I invoked my rights as a citizen under the Freedom of Information Act, and asked for a copy of any policies or procedures relating to school nurse coverage for my county’s school. And here is the answer I received from the school’s attorney on Friday:
Please be advised that this office has no records responsive to your request. A document containing a specific policy or procedure that addresses school nurse coverage and backup school nurse coverage does not exist and has not been created.
And just for the record, I live in one of the wealthiest counties in my state. They can’t make sure that our children do not receive the care of a licensed healthcare provider during the school day?
Many words come to mind, but the ones I will share here are appalled, alarmed, frightened and angry.