TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Law enforcement in East Texas and across the state will soon be armed with another life-saving tool starting September 1st.
A new law allows officers to administer an EpiPen auto-injector to an individual in need.
“Probably one of the scariest things to see is acute anaphylaxis where their airways are swelling up, and they cant breathe,” said Dr. Lane Schnell, the chief of emergency medicine for CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Francis. “Putting an EpiPen in the hands of a first responder could even decrease that time not having to wait for an ambulance.”
Schnell said this new law will be a very good thing for rural East Texas, where the nearest hospital could be miles away. Law enforcement administering this treatment could be the difference between life and death.
“Especially in an area like East Texas where we have a large area where it’s rural, and they can arrive and administer that treatment. It’s a benefit and will protect the lives of people here locally,” Schnell said.
For Senator Jose Menendez, who authored Senate Bill 1827, this law is personal.
“It was a journey that was started by a very concerned parent, and I joined in her fight,” Menendez said. “We started making EpiPens available in public schools and then readily available in public university.”
After joining the fight and making students safer in public schools and universities, Menendez began making efforts to give peace officers the resource.
“We started thinking about rural communities where law enforcement might be the first ones on site, so that’s how we came to this conclusion, we want Texas to be safe for everyone,” Menendez said.
Menedez said he hopes this inspires other Texans to fight for something they believe in.
“This is proof that any one person can make a difference. This was born from a mom who had a very real fear and wanted to find a way to step up and make a difference in her child’s life, and she did,” Menedez said.
For those who wonder what the downside would be to an EpiPen being administered at the wrong time, Schnell said the medication wouldn’t harm the patient. He said it’s worth the risk to administer if you think it’s needed.