May 30, 2001
Question from Tampa, Florida, USA:
My eight year old granddaughter has had type�1 diabetes since the age of 14 months, and her parents are divorced. Her mother does everything to learn more and teaches the child as she learns in the control of her diet and everyday living. However, when the child visits the father, he gives her ice cream, candy, etc., and she comes home with a glucose levels of 600 mg/dl [33.3 mmol/L] and above. Is there a book I can buy for him to help him see the danger he is placing on this child? He wants to be super-dad rather than say no. The mother is at her wit’s end and does not want to fight with him. Is this not a form of child abuse?
I appreciate your concerns. Indeed, this situation is a difficult one to find a reasonable and acceptable solution for everyone involved. I would suggest having a frank discussion with mom and dad and the diabetes team and coming up with a reasonable care plan for your granddaughter’s diabetes. In addition, I would come up with a plan for high blood sugars and make sure that it is being followed when the child is at dad’s home. Routinely running a blood sugar of 600 mg/dl [33.3 mmol/L] when the child gets home is clearly dangerous and needs attention. Your granddaughter’s diabetes educator or physician may be able to sit down with dad also to help explain the dangers diabetes that is not properly controlled.
Whether this is child abuse or medical neglect or child neglect is a decision that is best left to the authorities in your area. If you have continued concerns after addressing the above suggestions, I would suggest contacting those authorities for advice.