Here is a rather tragic story about a school nurse who would not let a student having an asthma arrack use his inhaler because he did not have an updated medical release form in his file. The school called the mother to come but by the time she did the student had collapsed on the floor.
Clearly the school district and the nurse thought that it was better to abide by the letter of the law and rules and regulations than respond to an immediate medical need.
It is often the case that people are faced with difficult choices. In many such situations that I personally have been in, rather than ask which decision will likely give better results, I find it helpful to pose to myself the following question: Which decision, if it turns out to be the wrong one, will I likely regret more?
In this case, if the inhaler and the need were genuine but I mistakenly did not allow the inhaler and the student suffered a major attack or even died, that would be really bad. If I allowed the inhaler and it turned out that the student was using the inhaler to get another dose of illegal drugs (which is likely the fear that the school district has in these ‘zero tolerance’ days) that would not be good but not disastrous. So I would have allowed it.
I have found that decision rule to be extremely useful in some situations.