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October 30, 2001

Hyperglycemia and DKA

Question from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA:

My 14 month old nephew was diagnosed with diabetes, and the autopsy report read there was nothing that could be done because he was so young. Is this a fact?

Answer:

We take care of many very young children diagnosed with diabetes. I assume from your letter that he was diagnosed with diabetes and died. This sometimes happens with new onset diabetes when the diagnosis is not thought about or symptoms start very abruptly — or if there is any delay in starting treatment — especially if DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis] and dehydration have occurred. It is sad when this happens, but often has to do with access to medical care, sophistication of parents in recognizing unusual symptoms and getting to the health care team who can not only recognize but also start correct treatment.

SB