Revival of “Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act of 2015”

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On May 15th, I bought a salad that did NOT contain nuts to eat on my flight back to Chicago. In fact, none of the salads on the menu were supposed to contain nuts. As someone who has lived with a severe tree nut allergy their whole life, I am always extremely careful about what I buy. Within 5 minutes of takeoff, I ate one piece of the chicken. To my horror, my throat started tingling, scratching, and then tightening. I was going into anaphylaxis 30,000 feet in the air from a piece of cashew cross-contamination. I ran to the front of the cabin and asked the @Southwest flight attendants if they had any Benadryl- I quickly explained that I have a severe tree nut allergy and that my throat was beginning to shut. They told me they did not have any, and looked flustered and alarmed.

My throat was continually closing, and I was getting lightheaded as it became almost impossible to breathe. The flight attendants didn’t offer epinephrine, an EpiPen, and they were completely unprepared to help me. The flight attendants did NOT ask the passengers if there was a physician on board, and they did NOT tell me they had any sort of of medicine to help me. I told them that I was going to administer my own EpiPen in the bathroom. But I didn’t know if this would stop my reaction- last time, I needed an ambulance and TWO rounds of epinephrine to stop my throat from shutting.

For two hours I sat on the ground of the bathroom floor, struggling to breathe and jittering from the shot of epinephrine, going in and out of consciousness. It was truly my worst nightmare. I was traveling alone, and I was completely UNMONITORED for a full 2 hours after one initial check after I had administered the EpiPen. The flight attendants seemed bewildered and unsure of what to do the entire time.

Now imagine a passenger who didn’t know they had allergies. Imagine a passenger whose reaction didn’t stop with their own, single shot of epinephrine that they carry. Imagine a child who can’t quite express the symptoms they are feeling and subsequently doesn’t get the treatment in time. Yes, life-threatening allergic reactions on planes are not extremely common, but utterly horrendous care by @Southwest and ill-prepared flight attendants should never further jeopardize the entire lives of their passengers.

The @Federal Aviation Administration needs to require training on what to do for ALL flight attendants when a passenger is suffering an allergic reaction and REQUIRE that there be a EpiPen on board. 40 million Americans have severe food allergies, and many more do not know that they have one. Right now, all that is available is a “suggested” guide embodied in AC 121-33b. EpiPens are NOT federally required to be carried, and the vials of epinephrine can only be injected by a medically licensed professional. There are NO federal regulations or guidelines on the management of an in-flight medical emergency. PLEASE help me spread this message calling for CHANGE IN FAA REQUIREMENTS, REGULATIONS, AND TRAINING and, in turn, help save the lives of future passengers.

SHARE this petition and help get signatures to revive the 2015-2016 bill that was introduced in the Senate and then referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in 2015.

HELP REVIVE S. 1972 Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act of 2015.

This is more than a mere customer complaint; this is a demand for national change.

Together, we are on a mission to save lives.