Skye Mahon, a typical nine-year-old from Birmingham, has not been able to take the school bus for 14+ weeks now. The reason: she has a severe nut allergy and carries an epinephrine auto-injector which the driver is not trained to administer.
So her mom Joanne must make the 20-minute drive back and forth to school so that Skye can attend classes. The problem: Joanne is a full-time caretaker for her severely disabled husband who has several epileptic seizures a week and cannot be left alone.
Joanne picks up the story:
Skye has to have an EpiPen because of her severe nut allergy, because they can’t get a guide that is EpiPen trained, they can’t do anything.
I’ve actually been on the phone to [my husband] coming back from Kings Heath and I’ve literally listened to him swallowing his tongue.
There’s nothing I can do because I’m not supposed to leave him. If he’s fitting and I’m on the other side of Birmingham, there’s no one to help him or to let anyone in.
So it’s either my daughter’s education or my husband’s health, I know I’ve got to think of my daughter’s health as well but Travel Assist are for children with disabilities.
It took me just 20 minutes to train with the EpiPen. We’ve been trying to fight and get it sorted.
She would’ve been off school for nearly 14 weeks if I hadn’t been taking her.
The Birmingham City Council, which runs the Travel Assist service for children with disabilities, said they ‘sympathize’ with the ‘difficult situation’ and said it was reviewing options.
A spokesman said:
We understand the situation must be difficult for the family and the service is reviewing options to deliver transport in a safe manner given the potential risks in this case.
We have to make sure suitable transport is put in place, managing the risks appropriately.
There are a number of organizations that provide anaphylaxis training in the US and we presume there such training is available in the UK as well. We urge the Council to engage with the Mahon family to find an adequate solution that will allow for Skye to attend school without putting her father at risk.
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