Hoping to spare other families the anguish that the LeGeres
of Elmhurst suffered after the unexpected loss of their daughter last year, Senator Chris Nybo is working to expand access to epinephrine auto-injectors for people
suffering from life-threatening allergic reactions.
Following the tragic death of 13-year-old
Annie LeGere in August, Senator Nybo filed legislation (Senate Bill 2878) to allow
specially trained police officers and other public safety personnel to
administer epinephrine via an auto-injector (EpiPen) in an emergency.
Annie died from brain injuries
resulting from anaphylactic shock after she suffered a severe allergic reaction
at a sleepover at a friend’s house. Police were first on the scene within
minutes, but were unable to render the needed aid because officers are not currently
authorized to carry and administer epinephrine auto-injectors.
“I have been working closely with
Annie’s mother, Shelly LeGere, who has created The Annie LeGere Foundation to increase
awareness of life-threatening allergic reactions and equip first-responder
emergency vehicles, schools and as many other public settings as possible with epinephrine
auto-injectors,” Senator Nybo said.
Information about The Annie LeGere Foundation is available
www.amazingannie.org. One of the Foundation’s first events is
the upcoming Annie LeGere “To the Moon and Back” Walk, scheduled for April 23
in Elmhurst. (See http://www.amazingannie.org/the-inaugural-annie-legere-to-the-moon-and-back-walk)
Shelly LeGere traveled to
Springfield April 5 to testify before the Senate Public Health Committee on
behalf of Senate Bill 2878.
“On August 17, I got a phone call
from my daughter at about midnight. She said she didn’t feel well. I quickly
went to the house where she was sleeping and by the time I got there, which was
within about six minutes, her friends said she was unconscious on the floor. They
said she was having difficulty breathing and she was getting hives,” Shelly
LeGere told committee members. “The police officer had arrived before I did,
and it seemed like about five to eight minutes before the ambulance then arrived.
My daughter wasn’t given epinephrine until after she was in respiratory
distress. She was brought to a hospital and was on a ventilator for nine days. The
lack of oxygen caused immense brain swelling, and my little girl was never going
to be the little girl that I once knew. Had epinephrine been available at the
time that she was unable to breathe, the circumstances may be different. It
could have made all the difference in the world.”
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 State Police or a local governmental
agency could authorize officers to carry and administer epinephrine auto-injectors
once they have completed the required training.
The bill would also allow a
student to self-administer an epinephrine auto-injector while being transported
on a school bus, and allows a school nurse, or trained personnel to administer
an epinephrine auto-injector on anyone they believe is having an anaphylactic
reaction while on a school bus. School districts, public schools, or nonpublic
schools would be allowed to maintain a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors in
a secure location that can be accessible before, during, and after school
“Food allergies among children
have increased 50 percent between 1997 and 2011,” Senator Nybo said. “When such
allergies result in life-threatening reactions and anaphylaxis, swift action is
needed. It makes sense to allow the police or school personnel, if they choose,
to be trained and authorized to administer epinephrine auto-injectors in
In 2011, when Nybo was a State
Representative, he sponsored a law to increase access to epinephrine by
allowing schools to keep epinephrine auto-injectors in stock following a tragic
death of a young girl at a school in Chicago.
Approved by a 9-0 vote of the Senate
Public Health Committee on April 5, Senate Bill 2878 now moves to the full Senate
for further consideration.