California Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Case Seeking to Ensure Access to Insulin for California Students with Diabetes

May 29, 2013

The American Diabetes Association (Association) is pleased to announce the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in the American Nurses Association v. Tom Torlakson as Superintendent of Public Instruction, a case that disputes the legality of non-medical professionals administering insulin to children with diabetes in a school setting. The Association strongly believes that California state law permits school staff to administer insulin and that federal law requires it, when a school nurse is unavailable to provide the diabetes care needed.

“Today, the American Diabetes Association urges the California Supreme Court to recognize that every child with diabetes has the right to access the lifesaving insulin they need to stay healthy at school,” said Karen Talmadge, PhD, Chair of the Board, American Diabetes Association. “Everyday across the country, non-medical professionals are safely administering insulin to children in both home and school settings. California should follow this practical approach to protect its children.  There is currently one school nurse for every 2,200 school children in our state. Diabetes experts agree, school staff can and should be trained to provide this care when a nurse is not available.”

The case comes before the California Supreme Court after more than seven years of litigation, including two lawsuits, a landmark settlement, followed by disappointing rulings from a trial and appellate court, all of which have led to the California Supreme Court taking on the case for further review. The Association, represented by Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) and Reed Smith LLP, has been and will continue to fight for the families of children with diabetes in California’s public schools to have access to the insulin and care they need to be safe at school.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)