LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Nurses in the Los Angeles Unified school district voiced their opposition on Thursday to a plan to train volunteers to administer insulin to diabetic children in public schools.
Officials claim demand for volunteers is soaring due to a severe nursing shortage in the education system, but after two lower courts ruled in favor of the nurses, the case is now in the hands of the state Supreme Court.
American Diabetes Association spokesman John Griffin Jr. told KNX 1070 he believes the nurses' argument that only licensed individuals should be allowed to give the shots isn't medically sound.
"Three-year-olds do it, babysitters do it, parents, grandparents...it's not rocket science," said Griffin.
Griffin calls the debate "unfortunate", saying that with only 1 in 20 LAUSD schools having a nurse to administer the shots, kids' health will ultimately be at risk.
"What happens when a child is trouble at school, with terribly high blood sugars and there's no nurse?" said Griffin. "The answer 'Call 911' is not an answer that I think the Supreme Court is going to accept in California."
In addition to keeping kids healthy, Griffin also points out the economic benefits of shifting insulin duties to non-paid volunteers.
"Trained volunteers don't cost school districts anything, oftentimes the nurses are the ones who do train them, the American Diabetes Association trains them," said Griffin.
But LA Unified's Director of Nursing Dee Apodaca counters that the kids aren't really getting the proper care they need.
"The training that they may have, it is not regulated like the Board of Registered Nurses," said Apodaca. "Who wants to take a chance with our children?"
The California Supreme Court is expected to rule on the matter before 2012.
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