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April 27, 2005

Hypoglycemia, Other

Question from Malaysia:

My mother has diabetes. She lost consciousness back on Saturday afternoon. My whole family (consisting of my dad, mom and myself, an only child) were unaware of hypoglycemia. She slept very late on Friday and only managed to wake up around noon. The whole Friday she looked normal to us. She went back to sleep around 11 p.m. on Friday night. The following day, my dad tried to wake her at 10 a.m., but failed, again failed at noon, and, lastly, also failed around 1 p.m. My dad called a voluntary medical staff over our house and checked on my mom. They could not get any reading of her blood sugar level. Thus, we admitted my mom to the state general hospital. She's diagnosed for hypoglycemia, but no internal bleeding in her brain. She's been in diabetic coma for few days now. She did manage to open her eyes back on Sunday (that's the only day, and only once). The doctors have been telling us my mom's in very critical condition and they do not see any improvement. She's relying on a ventilator machine. They monitor her blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. We do observe very slight motions on her hands and legs. All the doctors are saying is that we should prepare ourselves for the worst to happen. If my mom could regain breathing on her own without the ventilator, she might still possibly turn into a vegetative state. Her kidney is getting poorer and her lungs are getting infected by germs (due to the tubing). Is there really nothing else to be done for my mom? Do we really have to wait for her to fight it herself, or she finally gives up?

Answer:

I am very sorry for your mother’s condition. It sounds like her illness is very severe. If she stayed over a day with such severe low blood sugars, it is possible she has had irreversible brain damage, as the brain requires glucose as its necessary fuel. If her brain has been severely damaged, there is the possibility it will not repair itself. I am so sorry. I hope she is able to fight this off. You need to try and get as much information from her doctors as you can about how much brain function is present. You and your father will have to make the best decision you can make.

JTL