From New Jersey, USA:
My six year old has had diabetes since she was 13 months old. What boggles my mind is how many medical professionals are uneducated about children with diabetes. Just last night, a friend from town took her 11 year old son to her pediatrician because he was extremely thirsty. They tested his urine, and told her there was a lot of sugar in the urine, and to go to the hospital to have his blood checked (for some reason they could not do a simple finger test in the office). At the local hospital, this mother was told her son's blood glucose reading was 812 mg/dl [45.1 mmol/L], and they weren't sure if he had type 1 or type 2 (this is a thin extremely active child. They then sent her home with no instructions, just that a endocrinologist would call her and let her know if her son should be hospitalized or brought into the office the next day. Meanwhile, this child is starving so she is asking me, "Can I give him some fruit or orange juice?" The doctor said nothing about ketones!
Hours later, he was admitted to the hospital, and I haven't spoken to her yet, but my husband and I were so outraged that they would send a child home with a blood sugar of 812 mg/dl [45.1 mmol/L]! About three months ago, there was a story in the paper about a 12 year old girl who went into a diabetic coma and died in her sleep because nobody picked up on her very obvious signs!
What can be done to educate people? I was very fortunate to have a doctor who was on the ball, my daughter's sugar was 900 mg/dl [50 mmol/L], and we went right from the doctor to a major teaching hospital.
Would the JDF be able to do something in regard with this particular hospital?
In my experience, it is unusual that a hospital would send a child home for the night with a blood sugar of over 800 mg/dl [44.4 mmol/L]. It sounds like the hospital did not feel qualified to manage a child with a blood sugar over 800 mg/dl, and the child appeared stable and was sent to a facility that was experienced in the treatment of a young child.
I can't speak for the JDF, but I don't think a diabetes organization can interfere with an independent hospital's practice of medicine. If the family feels that the hospital staff acted inappropriately, they could contact the head of pediatrics or the head of the emergency room department and inform them of the details of the case and ask for the case to be reviewed by the Quality Assurance Committee of the hospital. (Remember, only the family knows exactly what happened - often details get mixed up when told to other individuals, especially when everyone is upset).
Original posting 20 Sep 2000
Posted to Social Issues: Community Resources
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