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March 14, 2004

Behavior, Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA:

My son refuses to take insulin. I am tired of fighting him about taking his shots, but I do not know what to do. My son's doctors are saying I have to give him his shots. I get distracted very easily with the other kids and it's very hard to watch and make sure that he takes his shot. I would like to get him on the pump, but the doctor says he has to follow this packet before he can get the pump.

Answer:

If your son does not take his insulin, then as the responsible adult(s), you have to make sure that he gets his insulin. It really doesn’t matter how much else you have to do; this is your major health challenge at the moment. An insulin pump will not solve this problem, unfortunately. A key question is why is he refusing insulin injections and this requires some serious psychological questioning and therapy, perhaps involving the entire family. Sometimes, this is a way of asking for more parental involvement. Sometimes, it is just anger. If you can get to the bottom of this dilemma, you may find more cooperation from your son. Go back and discuss this further with your diabetes team. Rather than let your son do internal damage from omitted insulin or get into problems with ketoacidosis, give the insulin at all times and then you no longer have to worry so much about omitted insulin while you can work on the other problems.

SB