Student having asthma attack denied inhaler by school nurse

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 16:10 EDT
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17-year-old Michael Rudi, a Florida high school student who was denied an inhaler by his school nurse, even as he suffered an asthma attack. Screenshot via Local 6.
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A senior student at Delton High School near Orlando, Florida nearly died last week after a school nurse refused to give him a doctor-prescribed asthma inhaler, even after he passed out from lack of oxygen.

17-year-old Michael Rudi told Orlando news station Local 6 on Monday that as he lost consciousness in the nurse’s office, she closed the door on him, leaving Rudi wondering if he would even wake up.

The nurse, who was not named, was apparently following school policy, even despite Rudi’s name appearing on a prescription for the inhaler.

Students are not allowed to possess prescription drugs at Delton High School, so a release form signed by parents is required by school officials before medicine can be dispensed — something Rudi’s folks had not done.

Even though the nurse refused to step over the school’s policy and give Rudi his inhaler, she could have called 911. But she didn’t, and now Rudi’s mother wants to press charges for child endangerment.

“I mean its common sense if I saw an animal on the street in distress I would probably stop to help, why wouldn’t she help a child,” Sue Rudi told Local 6 reporter Shaun Chaiyabhat. “How dare you deny my son something that we all take for granted, breath. Why didn’t someone call 911?”

There are currently no over-the-counter medications available for Americans who suffer from asthma or reactive airways. Although U.S. pharmacies used to offer a non-prescription cardiac stimulant inhaler that helped relieve asthma symptoms, regulators pulled it from shelves in February. Other milder drugs that address asthma symptoms are much more costly and require a prescription.

This video is from Orlando news station Local 6, broadcast Monday, May 21, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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