Senate bill would allow paramedics to administer life-saving drugs in the field

Approximately 450,000 Minnesotans have a rare disease and a bill in front of a Minnesota Senate committee Thursday could help the 360,000 parademics who carry life-saving medication with them.

Before an attentive Senate committee, 14-year-old Alexis Lhotka shared the reality of living with a rare disease called Adrenal Insufficiency.

“I have a very serious injury,” she told Senators. “Get a concussion, pass out or can’t keep pills down. I must have the medicine injected into me.”

Her mother Meredith trains those around Lhotka to inject the medication because, in an emergency, she would die without it.

In situations like Lhotka’s, every second counts.

“It would be way better if an EMT could administer her medication because they have a medical background,” Meredith said.

Next to Sen. Torrey Westrom, Alexis calls for the passage of a bill that would allow parademics to bypass old protocols. Those protocols prohibit them from administering any medication not carried on an ambulance.

“Getting you to the hospital faster does you no good,” said Darlene Shelton. “They have the exact same protocols. They will not administer a medication that’s carried through those doors. This leaves patients at a loss.”

Shelton is the President of Danny’s Dose Alliance. She helped a similar bill pass in Missouri.

“In very vital situations like adrenal insufficiency, bleeding disorders, pulmonary hypertension, it means death,” Shelton said.

It’s an argument even the EMS regulatory board can get behind.

“I look forward to the board and the physicians looking to craft guidelines that can be implemented and again our goal is to save lives,” said Tony Spector, the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board Executive Director.

The bill passed Thursday afternoon.

The only opposition this bill faced is from EMS Regulatory Board and Minnesota Nurses Association. They disagreed with a portion of the bill that would allow techs to create care plans for patients. They feel that responsibility should fall squarely on primary care doctors and not medical technicians.

The bill will next head to the Senate floor.