Senator Chris Nybo is working to expand first responders’ ability to help save people suffering from a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
Senator Nybo was spurred to file legislation last week that will allow specially trained police officers to administer epinephrine via an auto-injector, or EpiPen, in an emergency, following the tragic death of Annie LeGere last August. The 13-year-old Elmhurst student died from brain injuries resulting from anaphylactic shock after she suffered a severe allergic reaction. Police were first on the scene within minutes but were unable to render the needed aid because officers are not authorized to carry and administer EpiPens.
(Pictured above are the LeGere Family (from left to right): Bobby, Shelly, John and Annie.)
“Most allergic reactions are food-related, but other triggers include insect stings, animals and grass,” Senator Nybo said. “When such allergies result in life-threatening reactions and anaphylaxis, swift action is needed. It makes sense to allow the police, if they choose, to be trained and authorized to administer EpiPens in emergency situations.”
Senate Bill 2878 would allow state police and other law enforcement agencies to conduct training programs for officers on how to recognize and respond to anaphylaxis, including administration of an epinephrine auto-injector. The bill also enables the State Police or a local governmental agency to authorize officers to carry and administer EpiPens, which dispense a measured dose of epinephrine, once they have completed the required training.
“Since Illinois has been updating its laws to provide a network of people who are authorized to administer EpiPens, it’s logical to expand that group to include police,” Senator Nybo said. “We’ve already witnessed successful saves with officers’ use of Narcan on individuals overdosing on illegal drugs, so why not apply that approach to people suffering from severe allergic reactions. That’s a far better option than having police stand by helpless.”
Senator Nybo has been working closely with Annie’s mother, Shelly LeGere, who has created a foundation to equip first-responder emergency vehicles, schools and as many other public settings as possible with epinephrine auto-injectors.
“Words cannot express the level of hurt and void that my husband, son and I feel for losing our beloved Annie,” said LeGere. “To keep her memory alive and to prevent this tragedy from happening to others, we are very passionate about implementing this legislation. Enabling police officers and first responders with lifesaving tools such as EpiPens will no doubt save lives. I thank Senator Nybo for his concern, innovation and willingness to lead the way.”