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Honoring Those Who Save Lives, Dr. Jeremy Cushman and Jamie Kosten

It’s always nice to reward people who go well above the call of duty to make the world a better (and safer) place. Dr. Jeremy Cushman, who will be presented with the John J. Condemi award, helped to implement the Check and Inject program that allows EMTs to administer epinephrine using a vial and syringe. This program is saving thousands of dollars every year and has increased awareness of anaphylaxis and the role epinephrine plays in saving lives.

Our Ruth T. Cornell award will be presented to Jamie Kosten who saved is father’s life by administering epinephrine after his father was stung by a bee. Congratulations to both!

Honoring Those Who Save Lives,  Dr. Jeremy Cushman and Jamie Kosten

Jamie Kosten (left) and Dr Jeremy Cushman (right)

By Suzanne Driscoll
September 9th, 2019

On Thursday October 10th the Allergy Advocacy Association will hold our second annual Action Awards Gala. Our association will honor Jeremy Cushman MD and Jamie Kosten; Dr. Jeremy Cushman will receive the John J. Condemi award and Jamie Kosten will receive the Ruthie T. Cornell award.

Two men could hardly be more different than Jeremy and Jamie. One is a grown man with many years as a practicing physician. The other is a young man working his way towards graduation from McQuaid Jesuit High School. Both men, however, have aided individuals at risk for anaphylaxis in two very unique ways. And saved lives, too!

John J. Condemi Award for Outstanding Community Engagement and Volunteer Service

Before most people realized the price of life-saving epinephrine had more than doubled, Dr. Jeremy Cushman, an emergency medicine physician at Univerity of Rochester Medical Center and Chief of the Division of Prehospital Medicine, became very concerned. Other Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) started to wonder if the expiration date was just a suggestion and if not, were there any less expensive alternatives?

Dr. Cushman knew that EMTs in Seattle were using a syringe to draw up and then inject it into the person experiencing an allergic reaction. While an EpiPen 2 Pak costs about $920, a 2 kit syringe that Dr. Cushman developed costs only $85.

You might think this would be a simple program to implement, but New York State prohibits the administration of medication with a syringe unless the EMT has had training as an Advanced EMT or Paramedic. So Dr. Cushman developed the Check and Inject Program that includes a 90 minute training module complete with a video showing the causes, signs, symptoms and treatment of anaphylaxis.

Over 500 agencies are now enrolled with 5,030 syringe epinephrine kits distributed, and cost savings are projected to be over $400,000 per year. One of the best parts of the program included in the final report showed a significant increase among EMTs in the understanding of anaphylaxis and the role of epinephrine.

Dr. Cushman comments that “On behalf of the entire team that worked to provide first responders with an affordable way to practice good medicine through the development of an alternative to epinephrine auto-injectors, I am humbled to receive the Allergy Advocacy Association Dr. Condemi Award.

“New York, like many other states, requires that ambulances have the ability to administer epinephrine to adults and children in anaphylaxis. Many other fire service first responders followed suit—after all, it's good medicine. However the exorbitant cost of epinephrine autoinjectors became a major financial barrier to these first responders, many of whom are volunteers, and have limited budgets. The development of the syringe epinephrine program enabled our emergency medical services to continue to save lives, without breaking the bank.”

JOHN J. CONDEMI award citation:

"Outstanding Community Engagement and Volunteer Service award presented to an individual or group of individuals who, through significant professional activities, have enhanced medical treatment and research efforts to improve life, health and hope for the food allergy community."

Ruth T. Cornell Award for Outstanding Community Advocacy and Education — Jamie Kosten

Ruthie Cornell would be very proud to see Jamie Kosten of Penfield receive the award named in her memory. She died in 2009 as a result of anaphylaxis from a bee sting, and Jamie saved his father’s life after he was stung by a bee.

Scott Kosten had been keeping bees in his yard for over 12 years and had never had an allergic reaction to a bee sting. But in May 2017 he was stung multiple times and became unconscious from anaphylactic shock. Fortunately his 12 year old son Jamie was home and knew to call 911 right away. The first thing the operator asked was “Do you know if you have an EpiPen in the house?” Miraculously, the family had the foresight to purchase one to have on hand, “just in case a visitor ever needed it,” Jamie recalls.

Alone and feeling very stressed, Jamie calmed down as the 911 operator told him exactly what to do. He successfully administered the EpiPen, and by the time the EMTs arrived 6-7 minutes later, his father had started to recover. The 911 operator was so impressed with Jamie’s courage and determination, he nominated him for the Rochester Police Department's "Do the Right Thing" award.

“I am very happy to receive the Ruth T. Cornell award, and most of all I am glad my father is alive and well,” says Jamie. “I hope our story will help other families be prepared for an emergency by having an EpiPen on hand, especially if they are keeping bees!”

RUTHIE T. CORNELL award citation:

"Outstanding Community Advocacy and Education award presented to an individual or group of individuals who have significantly advanced awareness, alertness and action at the community level through a sustained commitment to advocacy and education." 

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