According to the Center for Anaphylactic Support, anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction marked by swelling of the throat or tongue, hives, and trouble breathing. The Center’s website also notes that the EpiPen Auto-Injector is the #1 doctor prescribed treatment for those with a history of anaphylaxis because it helps stop allergic reactions fast and gives a person time to get the emergency medical help they need. However, a recent study presented at the 2009 American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (AAAAI) Annual Meeting found that about half of physicians fail to prescribe the EpiPen (auto-injectable epinephrine) to patients with anaphylaxis. For the study, 43 residents and 7 attending physicians in New York City were interviewed by Dr. Irene Paek, an allergy and immunology fellow at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. Paek questioned the physicians on whether or not they knew how to use an EpiPen and asked them to demonstrate how to use the device. Twenty-eight (56%) of the 50 physicians stated that they did know how to use the device, however, when Paek scored them on their abilities, only 1 physician was able to complete all of the steps properly. The average score for ability was 1.39 out of 4 when the physicians were asked to administer the EpiPen to themselves.
Not surprisingly, when asked if they had a patient with a history of anaphylaxis, 35 (70%) of the physicians involved answered yes. However, only slightly more than half of those physicians had prescribed an EpiPen to patients with anaphylaxis. Some physicians that did not prescribe the EpiPen to their anaphylactic patients responded that they did not think to prescribe the device, while others chose not to because they believed that anaphylaxis could be controlled in other ways. Although the majority of these physicians (82%) were under the impression that they knew when an EpiPen should be prescribed, only half of those involved in the study had ever actually prescribed the auto-injectable epinephrine device. Moreover, only 11 of those 25 physicians that had prescribed an EpiPen had shown their patients with anaphylaxis how to use the device properly. Each year, more than 400 people die as a result of anaphylaxis, so it is extremely important to get proper treatment. Undiagnosed anaphylaxis can be fatal. If you or a loved one has experienced a serious injury or death as a result of an undiagnosed problem, call or e-mail the attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. Our Brooklyn malpractice lawyers, Bronx malpractice lawyers, Queens malpractice lawyers, Nassau malpractice lawyers and Suffolk malpractice lawyers will review your case for FREE.
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