WALPOLE, Mass. - A Walpole, Massachusetts, mother whose daughter nearly died from a severe allergic reaction is working with state lawmakers on a bill to provide police officers with EpiPens.
Chandler Sullivan’s daughter, Piper, was just 1 1/2 years old in December when she suffered an anaphylactic reaction due to an unknown, severe allergy to sunflower seed butter, a common alternative to peanut butter in an age when peanut and tree nut allergies are rampant.
When Sullivan arrived at the day care, Piper was already being rushed in an ambulance to the hospital. She had vomited, her eyes were swollen shut, her body was covered in hives and her breathing was becoming labored when Walpole EMTs administered an EpiPen.
“She needed two EpiPens. She needed two doses of Benadryl. She needed steroids. We spent all day at the ER. And EpiPens are what saved her life,” Chandler said. “We learned that if this had been something different, and if the police were the first to arrive and the EMTs were not closely behind them, this would have had a different outcome.”
When Sullivan learned police not only in Walpole but at departments across the state don’t carry EpiPens, she contacted state Rep. John Rogers, who drafted HD 3279: “An act relative to police use of epinephrine autoinjectors.”
Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael has spoken to Sullivan about the bill. Carmichael tells WFXT that his department will become equipped with and trained to use EpiPens.
The process, he said, involved registering with the Department of Public Health and receiving training from the local hospital to administer epinephrine.
Sullivan is urging other members of the community to call their local legislators by Tuesday and ask them to cosponsor the bill.
“Whether it's food allergies, latex, bee stings, whatever it is, police officers are 99 percent of the time the first ones to get to… an emergency, and we feel that the fact that they can carry AEDs and Narcan, they should be able to able to carry and administer EpiPens,” Sullivan said. “I can’t fathom having something horrific happen because somebody doesn’t have an EpiPen.”
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