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Westrom's bill inspired by Morris teen is a law

Tuesday, June 18, Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, and members of Alexis Lhotka’s family, of Morris, Minnesota, joined Gov. Tim Walz as he signed into law legislation authorizing first responders to administer lifesaving medications. Submitted photo

Bipartisan legislation authored by Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, was signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday, June 18. The bill expands guidelines authorizing EMTs, AEMTs, and paramedics in Minnesota to administer prescription medications to patients in lifesaving situations. Westrom was joined by Alexis Lhotka of Morris and her family.

Westrom authored the bill after first meeting Alexis and her mother Meredith at a Morris area church nearly two years ago. A 14-year-old resident of Morris, Alexis needs lifesaving medication during emergency situations due to a rare disease, adrenal insufficiency, commonly referred to as Addison's Disease. Current state law does not allow for EMTs and other emergency services personnel to administer the prescription medication. More than 400 rare disease could be covered under this bill, positively impacting countless Minnesotans.

"Alexis and her mother Meredith came to me with their concerns for this common sense legislation," Westrom said in a news release. "Alexis stepped forward, shared her story with legislators, and bravely testified this past session before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee about the need for this bill. Thanks to her efforts, I am confident that not only will Minnesotans benefit from these reforms, but lives will be enhanced and saved."

One of the popular medications used for adrenal insufficiency emergencies is similarly administered like an EpiPen. When an individual with adrenal insufficiency is experiencing a medical emergency, it is not always possible to self-administer the medication. This change in law would remove that barrier.

"Alexis and several other individuals from across the state contacted legislators and shared their concerns about this barrier in law," Westrom said in the release. "There hard work paid off and the bill was unanimously supported in both the House and the Senate due to their grassroots lobbying efforts."

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