Waiting To Inhale

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 1:23pm

School nurse accused of denying asthmatic teen access to his inhaler.

The mother of a Florida high school student said her son was denied his inhaler by the school nurse while he suffered from an asthma attack.

"I'm sitting out in the hallway begging for air. I shouldn't have to do that," Deltona High School student Michael Rudi said.

Rudi, 17, said his albuterol inhaler was taken from him after a search of his backpack last Friday.

School officials said he did not have the proper paperwork to have the inhaler.

Rudi said the inhaler was in its original packaging and had his name on it.

When Rudi suffered an asthma attack, the school nurse called the teen's mother, Susan Rudi, who told the nurse to call 911.

"I told her to call 911, I'm on my way. She said 'I'm leaving at 2 p.m.' She didn't want to help my child," Rudi said.

Rudi said her son had collapsed by the time she got to the school.

"'Michael. Michael. Get up. Get up. I'm here. Let's get your medicine,' and he's going like this, choking for air. And she stood in the window looking down on him, doing nothing," Rudi said.

Michael Rudi said the incident was frightening.

"I was so scared. I saw my mom. I cried and thanked her for saving my life," he said.

Susan Rudi said she filed complaints with the Sheriff's Office, the State Licensing Board and the School Board.

She said she wants the nurse out of the school.

"I want her to do time. It's criminal. How dare they deny my child of air," she said.

Rudi said she called the school Tuesday, and they told her the incident could have been a case of misplaced paperwork.

Student Health Services is investigating to make sure all proper procedures were followed.

Volusia County Health Services Coordinator Cheryl Selesky said that, according to a Florida state statute, a child can carry their metered dose inhalers while at school with written permission and physician authorization, which Rudi did not have.

"If the student was in severe distress, 911 would have been called for emergency medical assistance," Selesky said.

Selesky said she was unaware if anyone at the school called 911 during the incident.

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