Nurse refuses student inhaler during asthma attack

School says medical release form lacked parent's signature

Published On: May 21 2012 11:45:37 PM EDT   Updated On: May 22 2012 05:55:13 PM EDT
DELTONA, Fla. -

Volusia County School officials stand by a Deltona High School nurse's decision to refuse a student his inhaler during an asthma attack, citing a lack of a parent's signature on a medical release form.

"It's like something out of a horror film. The person just sits there and watches you die," said Michael Rudi, 17. "She sat there, looked at me and she did nothing."

He said the school dean found his inhaler during a search of his locker last Friday. The inhaler was still in its original packaging -- complete with his name and directions for its use; however, the school took it away because his mother hadn't signed the proper form for him to have it.

School leaders called Sue Rudi when her son started having trouble breathing. She rushed to the office and was taken back to the nurse's office by school administrators and they discovered the teen on the floor.

"As soon as we opened up the door, we saw my son collapsing against the wall on the floor of the nurse's office while she was standing in the window of the locked door looking down at my son, who was in full-blown asthma attack," Rudi said.

Michael Rudi said when he started to pass out from his attack, the nurse locked the door.

"I believe that when I closed my eyes I wasn't going to wake up," he said.
The Director of Student Health Services, Cheryl Selesky, said that parents must sign the medical release form each year, which allows students to carry their prescribed drugs with them in school.

This year, the district had no record of his Rudi's signature, said Selesky.

"I mean its common sense if I saw an animal on the street in distress I would probably stop to help, why wouldn't she help a child," Sue Rudi said.
But Rudi is a senior, and his mother said the district has had records of his asthma throughout his years in the school.

She thinks her son could have died because of a technicality.

"How dare you deny my son something that we all take for granted, breath," said Sue Rudi. "Why didn't someone call 911?"

Selesky said the district is looking into whether proper procedures were followed by the school, and while nurses can't give medications without the proper authorization, it is district policy to call 911 when a student cannot breath.

Selesky could not explain why 911 was never called.

"I understand if you can't give it to him call 911," Sue Rudi said. "Why did you not call 911?"

Sue Rudi said she worries about the next student caught in a similar situation, and has filed charges against the nurse with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

"I want to press child endangerment charges for something they did to my son," Rudi said in the 911 call.

Local 6 reached out to the school district officials for more information, but they declined to interview.

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