Richmond, VA - They're required at all public schools, and if lawmakers have it their way, you may be seeing more Epipens at restaurants in the Commonwealth.
If passed, House Bill 352 would protect restaurants from being sued if a trained employee administers epinephrine and something goes wrong.
Delegate John O'Bannon of Henrico proposed the bill after a Virginia woman nearly died after going into anaphylactic shock.
Doctors at Allergy Partners of Lynchburg say you don't need to consume food to have an allergic reaction. In severe cases, just smelling it can cause someone to go into shock.
"Someone who's allergic to peanut or shellfish or tree nuts like walnuts...they have to have an allergic reaction somewhere and that could be at a restaurant," said Dr. Joey Lane.
On several occasions Laura Meadows, who's allergic to pork and beef, has relied on an Epipen to save her life.
"It could be the end. If you don't have that epinephrine available then it could be the end," Meadows says referring to an allergic reaction.
Roughly 1,500 Americans die every year from food allergies.
Delegate O'Bannon admit s the restaurant industry and medical supply companies have concerns over how the proposal would be implemented. He says it may not pass this session.
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