Tellico Plains school nurse saves student with EpiPen

Tellico Plains school nurse saves student with EpiPen

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"I saw the wasp and I tried to kill it with my bare hands, but it stung me on the ankle," D.J. O'Dell said. "I saw the wasp and I tried to kill it with my bare hands, but it stung me on the ankle," D.J. O'Dell said.
"He kept saying over and over, 'My heart hurts.' That's when I knew I needed to give the EpiPen and I also started him on oxygen," Amanda Williams said. "He kept saying over and over, 'My heart hurts.' That's when I knew I needed to give the EpiPen and I also started him on oxygen," Amanda Williams said.
The state legislature passed a law earlier this year encouraging all schools to have EpiPens on hand for emergencies like this one. The state legislature passed a law earlier this year encouraging all schools to have EpiPens on hand for emergencies like this one.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

TELLICO PLAINS (WATE) - An elementary school nurse is being hailed a hero for saving the life of one of her students.

The nurse's quick thinking and action happened Monday at Tellico Plains Elementary School in Monroe County when a little boy was stung by a wasp during recess.

Third grader D.J. O'Dell didn't have any known allergies. When he was first stung, he didn't have much of a reaction.

Soon, however, the situation turned life-threatening.

"I saw the wasp and I tried to kill it with my bare hands, but it stung me on the ankle," O'Dell said.

He went to the school clinic for Benadryl, which is standard procedure, then back to class.

"My face started swelling up and from my chest up it started shutting down and my ears started itching and it was hard for me to breathe," he said.

School nurse Amanda Williams immediately realized it was serious.

"He kept saying over and over, 'My heart hurts.' That's when I knew I needed to give the EpiPen and I also started him on oxygen," Williams said.

Then they waited for an ambulance.

"He was scared because he kept saying, 'What's goings to happen to me?' I said, 'We're going to take care of you and help is on the way,'" Williams recounted.

O'Dell was treated at the hospital and released the same afternoon.

"Without the EpiPen, I think it would have been tragic," Williams said. 

Now O'Dell has his own EpiPen to use in case he has another allergic reaction. His close call earned him a coveted spot playing football the next day at recess.

"My friends never let me be quarterback on the team, but since I got stung now I got to be quarterback," he said.

As for the woman whose training and quick-thinking saved his life, he said, "She's the best nurse ever."

Williams said school clinics in Monroe County have been stocked with EpiPens since 2000.

The state legislature passed a law earlier this year encouraging all schools to have EpiPens on hand for emergencies like this one.

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