Floyd Medical Center Straightforward

A Life-Saving Decision

When Floyd stepped up to take over and manage the school nurse programs in the Floyd County, Rome City and Polk County schools, everyone involved agreed that it was an opportunity to continue and perhaps improve a good program.

And, when Floyd Corporate Health, alarmed by the unaffordable prices for families to have Epi-Pens available, those same decision makers agreed that providing the emergency medicine to each school was worth the expense.

We do those things because we believe strongly in our mission to make health care accessible to the men, women and children who depend on Floyd to take care of their needs, not knowing that those two decisions would make a life-saving difference for a member of our own family.

Ashley Blake, who works in Physical Therapy & Rehab, experienced firsthand the importance of having a school nurse and an Epi-Pen available at her daughter’s school.

Ashley started her Friday like so many other football Fridays. She drove her older daughter to an early cheerleading practice, and grabbed a quick breakfast with her younger daughter, Sarah, at a local restaurant. She dropped her off at Garden Lakes Elementary School before heading to work.

Sarah is in the fifth grade, and, for her, going to school is as routine as brushing her teeth, but this day turned out to be anything but routine.

While sitting in class, Sarah’s face turned bright red and began to swell. She was quickly taken to the office of school nurse Drew Nicholson. Sarah was having trouble breathing. She told Drew her heart hurt.

Drew immediately recognized that Sarah was having an anaphylactic reaction. She reached for one of the two Epi-Pens in her medicine cabinet and administered the dose of epinephrine. Once Sarah was stable, Drew called 911 and Ashley.

Ashley rushed to the school to find Sarah and Drew surrounded by a paramedic, an EMT, two firefighters and several Garden Lakes staff members caring for her daughter.

After a trip to the Emergency Care Center to be checked out, Ashley took her daughter home.

Three months later, Sarah is back in class with her own Epi-Pen within reach, just in case she has a reaction again.

Sarah, who had no known allergies, had experienced a life-threatening reaction to something she came in contact with. After a series of allergy tests and doctor visits, there are no answers as to what caused Sarah’s anaphylaxis.

The other unknown, is equally scary to her mom.

Ashley said she can’t bring herself to think what may have happened to Sarah had Drew not been at school that day or if that Epi-Pen was not available. Floyd’s decision to develop a School Nurse Program and to supply schools with emergency medicines was absolutely good for the community, but for Ashley and Sarah, it’s much more personal. It’s a decision that may well have saved Sarah’s life.