Public school nurses give swine flu vaccine to kids without parents' OK, sends child


Public school nurses give swine flu vaccine to kids without parents' OK, sends child to hospital

BY Ben Chapman and Rachel Monahan

Originally Published:Friday, October 30th 2009, 12:52 AM
Updated: Friday, October 30th 2009, 10:18 AM



Nikiyah Torres, with her mom Naomi Troy, who received a flu shot without parents permission was taken to a hospital.

School nurses mistakenly gave the swine flu vaccine to two students who didn't sign up for it - including a Brooklyn girl with epilepsy who wound up in the hospital.

"I was outraged," Naomi Troy, 26, told the Daily News after her 6-year-old daughter, Nikiyah Torres-Pierre, had a possible allergic reaction to the shot.

Officials at Public School 335 in Crown Heights called an ambulance to take Nikiyah to SUNY Downstate Medical Center when she fell ill following the arm jab.

"My stomach was hurting, and I was itching," Nikiyah said after she was released from the hospital.

The snafu and a similar mixup at a Staten Island school came in the first days of the city's in-school H1N1 vaccination program.

City officials have stressed the vaccine is safe and urged parents to sign up for it - though less than half have sent in permission slips.

Troy was waiting for advice from her family doctor on whether Nikiyah should get the shot since she takes medicine to control her epilepsy.

When the nurse called for a student Thursday morning, Nikiyah's teacher misunderstood and sent the wrong student, Troy said.

The error was compounded when the nurse didn't check Nikiyah's name before sticking her in the shoulder, the mother said.

"The school made a horrible mistake," she added. "They never asked for her name. They have no paperwork....How do you make a mistake like this?"

After the mistake was discovered, officials summoned Troy to the school, she said.

Troy said the nurse - a Department of Health employee - tried to get her to sign a consent form, after the fact.

"I was insulted. I was really angry. 'You just incriminated yourself even more,'" Troy recalled thinking.

"If they'd taken proper precautions in the school this never would have happened."

A student at PS 65 in Staten Island also received the vaccine without parental permission on Wednesday, but officials gave no further details.

Officials for the nurses union declined to comment. The Health Department said the incidents were under investigation.

"The Health Department does not expect any future adverse medical effects for these children, but we are working to determine how this misstep occurred," said spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti.

"We will develop additional safeguards to prevent similar instances in the future."

She added that the vaccine is safe for kids suffering from epilepsy.

Roughly 1,800 students have received the vaccine in the first phase of the school blitz.


Public school nurses give swine flu vaccine to kids without parents' OK, sends child to hospital