District 214 apologizing after nurse delays student with allergy from using EpiPen

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Data pix.
Lia Sommer, 15 (Photo credit: Chicago Tribune)
Lia Sommer, 15 (Photo credit: Chicago Tribune)

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. -- Officials in school District 214 are apologizing after a school nurse allegedly delayed a student from using an EpiPen earlier this month.

John Hersey High School freshman Lia Sommer, 15, knew the moment she bit into a turkey sandwich with pesto, sold in the school cafeteria, that she'd been exposed to peanut contamination.

She went immediately to the nurse and asked for an EpiPen, as recommended in her health file.

Instead, the nurse told her to take an antihistamine, but Lia refused.

"Instead of following Lia's Allergy and Anaphylaxis Plan on file in the health office, which clearly states, 'Give EpiPen First!' the nurse opted to have her call me to confirm before administering epinephrine, with my daughter's life held in the balance," Lia's mother, Lonnie Joy, said.

After speaking with Lia on the phone, Lonnie Joy told the nurse to administer the EpiPen and call 911 immediately.

Lia was given the EpiPen and sent to the emergency room.

District 214 has agreed to pay for her medical bills.

-The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report


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