ELMHURST – Epinephrine auto-injectors have joined the toolkit Elmhurst police have access to during emergencies, following the Elmhurst Police Department's Aug. 17 rollout of the devices that release a drug to reverse the effects of anaphylactic shock caused by an allergic reaction.
The Elmhurst City Council expressed its support for the deployment of the epinephrine auto-injectors in the unanimous approval at its Aug. 20 meeting of a Public Affairs and Safety Committee report recommending the council approve the Police Department Epinephrine Auto-Injector Program.
Alderman Scott Levin, chairman of the committee, pulled the report from the consent agenda to call attention to the item, which has been discussed at city committee meetings since April 2016.
"This report is the last step, when adopted by the council, so that we may implement the program in Elmhurst," Levin said.
The Annie LeGere Law, which went into effect in January 2017, enables police officers to be trained and equipped with epinephrine auto-injectors.
However, a loophole in the original law had not provided liability protection to health care professionals who provide standing orders for law enforcement epinephrine auto-injector programs, so obtaining the required standing order from a health care professional was difficult, according to the committee report.
An amendment was proposed to specify that a physician, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse with prescriptive authority who provides a prescription or standing order for epinephrine for an Illinois police department will not be subject to civil or professional liability for law enforcement’s misuse of the medication, and Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the amendment July 31 at Elmhurst City Hall. Dr. Sam Yunez signed a prescription for epinephrine auto-injectors at the same ceremony.
The Elmhurst Police Department has been prescribed 22 pairs of 0.15-milligram epinephrine auto-injectors and 22 pairs of 0.3-milligram epinephrine auto-injectors, according to a copy of the prescription Yunez signed for the department.
The 0.15-milligram dosage is for individuals weighing less than 55 pounds while the 0.3-milligram dosage is for individuals weighing 55 or more pounds, according to the standing order for the administration of the drug.
Elmhurst Deputy Police Chief Mike McLean said Aug. 22 the department's in-service officers had completed the American Heart Association's Heartsaver's First Aid/CPR/AED course, which included training on allergic reactions and administration of epinephrine auto-injectors, in December 2017. The training, which is valid for two years, was a training option the Illinois Department of Public Health had approved for the program.
McLean said police officers are often the first on the scene of an emergency incident, and they need to be prepared to provide life-saving medical treatment in those cases, which may include severe allergic reactions.
The Annie LeGere Law is named for Elmhurst resident Annie LeGere, who died Aug. 26, 2015, from prolonged anaphylactic shock caused by an allergic reaction. She was 13 years old.
Annie's mother, Shelly LeGere, said at the July 31 ceremony that her goal is to spread the word among other municipalities to explain the importance of police officers carrying EpiPens, which are a common brand of epinephrine auto-injectors, so that they carry EpiPens as well.
Mayor Steve Morley and aldermen Michael Bram, Michael Honquest and Mark Mulliner were absent from the Aug. 20 meeting.
For information about the Annie LeGere Foundation, visit amazingannie.org.