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May 1, 2007

Diagnosis and Symptoms, Other

Question from Utica, New York, USA:

Our grandchildren live in another state and we see them only twice a year. Our son-in-law is a very permissive parent and also as a husband to our deceased daughter. She was scared to see a doctor and had a lump on her breast. He told us, "She doesn't need to go to a doctor." Well, six months later she died of stage 5 bone cancer. He is taking the same attitude with our grandson. I'm worried because you can actually see the ribs standing out in our grandson. Our grandson, age 15, has lost considerable weight (116 pounds now at 5 feet, 10 inches), is thirsty, has leg cramps, is constantly hungry, and voids continuously. We have tried to have him take a test of his sugar, but he refused, believing nothing is wrong. We believe he is scared of needles. This morning, we observed my grandson vomiting upon rising out of bed. I'm worried, but my grandson tried to say it was from drinking a gallon of water for the track team. I think he's fibbing since he looks terrible. We can see his ribs now. How can we get our son-in-law to do what's right for his son (our grandson)? Am I right to suspect diabetes? There is a history of diabetes on both sides of our family. We're diabetic and our oldest son has had diabetes since he was 13 years old.


This child needs urgent medical attention. I would encourage your son to seek medical attention immediately. If you suspect there is medical neglect, I would contact your local child protection authorities.

Additional comments from Debbie Butler, MSW, LICSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker:

It sounds like you have every right to be concerned. It sounds like your grandson needs to see his pediatrician and may need urgent medical attention. If you are worried about your grandson’s safety then you could call the Department of Social Services in the state where they live and tell them your concerns and say that you are worried about medical neglect and that your grandson could have diabetes or some other illness and may need urgent medical care.