Nurse Who Saved A Student Also Changes Law

May 23, 2019

Jennifer Jacobs
Credit Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

The Illinois legislature has approved a measure that would allow public school nurses to provide the life-saving medication glucagon to diabetic students in emergency situations.

As we recently reported, Jennifer Jacobs saved a 7th grader who was experiencing a severe hypoglycemic episode by using another student's supply of glucagon — a hormone that triggers the body to release stored glucose.

The decision could have cost Jacobs her nursing license, but she got immediate confirmation from Heather Wengler, the licensed practical nurse who assists her at Glenview Middle School in East Moline.

 

"Obviously, two heads together are better than one, even if it's just for that look of acknowledgement in each other's eyes that says this is the right thing," Jacobs says. "We each looked at each other and in our eyes, we knew what the answer was. But we also understood what the repercussions were of making that decision. And together... it just seemed like a no-brainer."

Their decision inspired the legislation to allow schools to supply emergency glucagon. Schools already have legal authority to provide emergency medications to address asthma, food allergies, and opioid overdoses.

Wengler remained on duty at Glenview so that Jacobs could travel to the Capitol on Wednesday to watch as the Senate — like the House — approved the measure unanimously. It now awaits the governor's signature.