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EpiPens at Grandview

Granview Children’s Centre recently installed publicly accessible EpiPens. Officials say this will allow for quicker action during emergency situations. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Officials at Grandview Children’s Centre recently celebrated a first in Durham Region.

The Oshawa-based medical centre became the first organization in the region to install a universally accessible emergency Epipen at its Oshawa headquarters.

“We’ve always had EpiPens available in our centre, but usually only accessible by our medical staff. So today we’ve launched a program so an EpiPen is available to the general public in the case of an anaphylactic allergy happening in a child, adult or staff member,” says Dr. Carolyn Hunt, a developmental paediatrician and medical director at Grandview. “All of our staff have been trained in terms of recognizing an anaphylactic attack and to administer the EpiPen in emergency situations.”

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in its onset and may cause death.

It can be triggered by allergies to food such as peanuts, eggs and milk, medication and venom from insects such as ants, bees or wasps.

The effects of this type of reaction are very swift and can result in death.

The station at Grandview has been equipped with a regular dose Epipen and also one for children under the age of one.

Hunt says because they deal with children with developmental and intellectual disabilities, they may not have yet reached a level of independence to ensure they are always carrying their EpiPen.

“The parents are also very stressed and have a lot on their mind so they may forget also,” she adds.

The idea of universally accessible Epipens is still relatively new, Hunt says.

She notes the City of Hamilton has taken a provincial lead on the idea, and she hopes to see Durham Region follow suit in its reaction facilities.

There are plans to install emergency Epipen stations at all of Grandview’s sites over the coming months.

Hunt notes they performed “careful research and collaboration” in developing the project.

“We had an opportunity to fully review all the legal, moral, ethical and medical implications related to this, and we felt that because of the cases in the province where children have died related to an anaphylactic reaction that was untreated, we felt this was the best course of action for us at the centre.”