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From California, USA:

My sister-in-law has had "Brittle Diabetes" she was diagnosed at age 12. Since then she has had a horrible time with diet and the administrating of the shots or testing of her blood sugar. She is now 20 years old, and her excuse for everything has been because of her diabetes. Now she admits to not taking her shots for the last three years, and is starting to notice the results. Bad eye sight and vomiting among others I'm sure she probably isn't even aware of. One other thing that has me really concerned (besides the fact that she refuses to go to the doctor or take her shots) is the fact that she has lost her thumb nail on one of her hands. She wears fake nails and some have came off but she says that they hurt too bad to take the rest of them off, but that's not all now she is complaining that she has lost or is losing feeling in that finger or possibly hand. She needs to take her shot but refuses. I don't know what to do. Can you help with maybe some ways of making her understand and to get her to go to the doctor or could you refer me to someone in our area?

Very Sick in California


It sounds as though your sister in law needs professional help from a psychiatrist. It may not be easy to convince her to get the help she needs.

A few suggestions:

  1. Tell your sister-in-law you are very concerned about her health (it sounds like she could become dangerously ill at any time) and want to help her. Offer to take her to her doctor or to call her doctor to get a referral to a psychiatrist.

  2. Offer to make the appointment with the psychiatrist for her and take her to the appointment.

  3. If she refuses to let you do any of the above, you might want to call her doctor on your own or write the doctor a letter explaining your concerns. I suggest you tell her in advance if you plan to do this. Keep in mind that, for medical-legal reasons, to protect your sister-in-law's confidentiality, her doctor may not be able to discuss any specifics of her treatment with you unless your sister-in-law gives the doctor written permission to discuss this with you. The doctor, however, can listen to or read any information you provide that you think the doctor should be aware of. You can let the doctor know you are willing to help.

Since you are a "sister-in-law" and not a sister, I would also suggest that you first discuss this with the "blood relative" through which you are related to her.


Original posting 8 Jun 97


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