An unidentified staff member used a student's EpiPens on another child who was suffering from a severe allergic reaction at school.
While the father took comfort in knowing that the EpiPens saved another child's life, he wondered if he was the a**hole in the AITA (Am I the A**hole) subReddit after asking for a reimbursement for the lifesaving drug from the school.
In recent years, costs of both insulin and EpiPens in the United States have been in the news for their skyrocketing costs. Pharmaceutical companies raised the prices of the products by huge margins in the name of profits.
In most countries, prices for lifesaving drugs are regulated to prevent price gouging.
An epinephrine autoinjector—a.k.a. EpiPen—is a prescription-only lifesaving medication device used to treat anaphylaxis by injecting measured doses of man-made adrenaline into a patient's thigh.
A brand name EpiPen or EpiPen Jr. package containing two auto-injectors can be very costly—upwards of $600—without insurance.
When Redditor "Malavestro" inquired about reimbursement, a member of the office staff told him that the school was not liable.
"On Friday a student at my daughters school had a severe allergic reaction."
"The kids parent never brought in a new epipen after an old one expired and the school didn't have any of their own so they used my daughters pens. Both of them."
"Now I'm not upset they used them. It may have saved the kids life. I'm glad the kid is okay."
"Today when I went to drop off new ones for the school and I asked the school for contact information of the parent so I can get reimbursed for the new pens."
"They told me they couldn't give me that information and refused to even contact the parent for me. So I produce the receipt and said OK you can reimburse me for it as my Insurance would only pay once a year for them, I do it every January and I had to get these out of pocket."
"The woman acted like I had aborted a baby in front of her. She refused saying that the school isn't liable for the use of the EpiPens."
"I make okay money but these damn things are not cheap, $650, and that's still a lot of money for us."
"I'm glad that it was used to save a kids life but I really do feel as if I should be reimbursed. But I was made to feel like a worthless a**hole."
"I spoke to the principal of the school and... well I was a little more short that I should have been after the secretary was such a b*tch and he's going to talk to the school board."
"Currently they've never had this happen before and they don't know how to proceed. It cost me $650 to replace the set."
"So AITA for wanting someone to repay me for a life saving drug that was used on another child?"
Redditors sided with the original poster (OP), especially after this user called out the school's action for what it was.
"Remind them that they stole prescription medication from a child and are now refusing to pay for it." – Sarioth
"Not only did the school steal from one child. They then administrated a medication which was prescribed for one child to another."
"While that's likely safe (and likely the same medication) I'm pretty sure whoever administered it, wasn't trained to make that determination."
"The school likely committed multiple felonies. The fact that they'd be pushing back against the idea of making good on one those felonies is odd to say the least." – QuickSpore
If the school was not going to cooperate, some Redditors suggested contacting the insurance company.
"Also you can report that to insurance companies and they can go after the school on the OPs behalf." – FogBunny
"They'll get a lot more than the $1300 pens. That's a lottery ticket if they don't pay them back." – DannyTewks
These users shared their informed opinion.
"I'm a teacher and we are NOT allowed to give one kid's epi pen to another, it is a huge huge issue that is definitely discussed at a staff level." – Peg_pond_gem
"Epi pens are not all substitutable for each other."
"This was the wrong way to handle it they got lucky. Source: I work in a pharmacy." – Koravel34
"Yes! They are not interchangeable!"
"I was at a birthday party when I was a kid and a girl who was allergic to bees got stung."
"The birthday girls older brother has a peanut allergy so the mom used a 13 year old boys epipen on a 10 year old girl and when EMS showed up they were like 'please do not do that ever!!' It was such a sh*t show." – unclerusty19
People had concerns about how the EpiPens were administered and the risk of an overdose.
"I'm a teacher and we're training in EpiPen/AuviQ use. At my school, the first adult on the scene administers the EpiPen it an anaphylactic reaction is suspected."
"Emergency services must immediately be called. If the child has a rebound response, a second EpiPen can be administered, but only by the school nurse."
"Also, there are only 2 doses of EpiPens. If a kid is under 66 lbs., they get the Jr. version. If they're over 66 lbs, it's the full EpiPen dose."
"The junior version is exactly half the dosage of the adult version, so maybe 2 juniors were used in place of the full version (just speculating here though)" – Alpacalypsenoww
"As a parent of a kid that has epi pens...the doctor that prescribed them said to administer one and then the other within a few minutes, even if the symptoms are gone."
"After the 2nd EpiPen EMTs and doctors need to be involved for any further injections."
"Anytime an EpiPen is used it needs to be followed with a trip to ER. There is a reason why the pens come in a two pack held together by a hard plastic sheath." – crossfader25
You would think the solution is a no-brainer.
"The problem here isn't that they used the other kid's epipen."
"The problem is that it isn't being replaced. Like, it's f'king simple - you use up someone else's sh*t, you replace it. It doesn't matter if it's their beer or their food or their epipen or whatever else." – Masturbatory_Apology
"The student had an expensive item being held by the school, for the benefit of said student only, and gave the expensive item to another student."
"Instead of getting hung up on all of the other stuff, just imagine if they sent the kid's iPad home with someone else. Is that acceptable? No."
"NTA on those grounds alone. Every other part of the story isn't the real issue, because nobody is insinuating that the kid's life shouldn't have been saved... they're just asking for their money back." – Icmedia
The OP provided an update saying that the school's superintendent had apologized, and that the school did have EpiPens of their own available.
Unfortunately, the staff member did not know where they were located.
"It turns out that the school did in fact have epipens on campus but the person in question didn't know the location of the emergency box, another issue, and used my child's pens."
"She said that they would be doing mandatory retraining for all staff and personnel. They would also be reimbursing me the cost."
"It would take about a week. She also apologized for the rudeness of the staff at the school this morning and that they didn't follow protocol last week on Friday about informing me that my daughter didn't have an epipen any longer."
"In short I wasn't being an a**hole after all and the office staff was for whatever reason. Maybe they were scared that me asking questions would lead to something. I don't know."
The thread also educated the OP about cheaper pricing for generic EpiPens.
"I just want to thank all of you. Especially those that gave me information on the generic forms of this drug."
"I'm going to talk to my daughters doctor about it as in the past I was told there wasn't a generic."
"This will really help us save because the damn things are so costly and I make just enough that I don't qualify for any of the programs to help lower the cost."
Mylan—the manufacturer of EpiPens—had been embroiled in controversy after the pharmaceutical company increased the price of EpiPens from $57 in 2007 to approximately $600 in 2016.
Depending on different pharmacies, patients can now get the generic version of EpiPen for roughly $150 to $350 for a two-pack.
Mylan also offers a savings card available to those who are 18 and over with commercial insurance.
More information about savings and coupons can be found on their website.