Childrens Lives May Be Endangered as Child Care Centers Refuse to Administer Emergency Medication
For Immediate Release
Children’s Lives May be Endangered as Child Care Centers Refuse to Administer Emergency Medication
Landover, MD (March 13, 2008) — The Epilepsy Foundation recently joined in a lawsuit against a national chain of child care centers that refuses to administer a potentially life-saving medication to children with epilepsy. The suit was originally filed on behalf of an 8-year-old California boy when a Tutor Time Learning Centers, LLC, child care center refused to administer diazepam rectal gel (sold under the brand name Diastat AcuDial). The Foundation has joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff to represent the many children with epilepsy around the country who may have been prevented from attending any of the 200 child care centers affiliated with the Tutor Time chain because of their refusal to administer this medication.
Diastat AcuDial is the standard out-of-hospital FDA-approved medication for prolonged seizures, which may cause brain injury or death if not promptly treated. It was specifically approved by the FDA for administration by people without medical training—such as parents, child care workers and school personnel—who can do so safely and easily. Children with epilepsy are particularly susceptible to prolonged seizures that may cause serious brain injury or death if not promptly treated, yet the child care provider’s only plan was to call 911.
“Most child care providers quickly understand that administering this medication is the right and necessary action to take,” said Eric R. Hargis, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “Unfortunately, many other providers do not understand and may put children at risk and create an unnecessary burden on families who cannot find safe child care.”
Because the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in public accommodations, including child care centers, Tutor Time must modify its policy against administering this medication to afford children with epilepsy equal access to the company’s services. Tutor Time has provided no reasonable justification for its policy. “When a patient begins to have prolonged or recurrent seizures outside of their normal patterns, it’s [a condition] that needs to be treated immediately,” said James W. Wheless, M.D., professor and chief of pediatric neurology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. “In the United States, the amount of time that typically elapses between the onset of a seizure and a patient receiving treatment at a hospital can exceed one hour. That’s too long [to rely on 911 for treatment]. [Diazepam rectal gel] is a safe, effective treatment.”
A similar lawsuit against an Army-operated child care center that refuses to administer diazepam rectal gel is currently pending in Kentucky.
About the Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against epilepsy since 1968. The Foundation’s goals are to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; and prevent, control and cure epilepsy through services, education, advocacy and research, so not another moment is lost to seizures. For additional information, please visit www.epilepsyfoundation.org.