B.C. defends policy on seizure medication at schools, some families worried kids being put at risk

The province is defending a policy regarding administering seizure medication in schools which some parents feel is putting their children at risk.

Some families in B.C. have been notified their children will no longer be given rescue medicine by school staff in the case of a prolonged seizure, instead, a parent or 911 will be called.

The government said the policy is not new and is based on expert advice, but some families are hoping the approach will be reconsidered.

Parent Nadine MacKay lives in Lake Country, and said they’d have to wait 20 minutes for appropriate medical support if her eight-year-old son couldn’t be given the medicine at school if needed.

“They need to be given in a five-minute window. Twenty minutes, we’re looking at permanent brain damage and very dangerous territory,” she said.

“Our personal neurologist is not on board with this, our doctor is not on board with this.”

On Monday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the policy has nothing to do with saving resources or money in any way, and added the policy is not new.

He said some parents may be getting notified because their child will be transitioned off an intervention care plan if it has been more than a year since they have needed rescue medicine.

“If you haven’t had a seizure for a year, your response to the medication as well is not clear,” he said. “We have a plan, an approach that’s founded on the advice we get from the neurology group at BC Children’s Hospital… I’m not going to be changing that over that advice.”

The BC Epilepsy Society is advocating for rescue medication to continue to be given in schools for those who may need it. In an email, executive director Deirdre Syms said “not everyone who has epilepsy requires rescue meds, so if the doctor or neurologist prescribes it, it is because that medication is necessary.”

CTV News has heard from multiple families feeling stressed and uncertain over the policy.

MacKay would like to see it repealed, and have children’s situations assessed on a case-by-case basis.

“It makes me sick to my stomach,” she said. “When you get this diagnosis, it’s stressful enough and then to have the one place where you trust that your kids are safe and included. Now I feel like: Are we looking at homeschool?”

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