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May 30, 2004

Other Social Issues

Question from Hesperia, California, USA:

This is not a medical question but it is just as important. Recently, I had to go in for some x-rays. I brought my son, who is eight years old and has type 1 diabetes, and my 11 year old daughter. My son, on that day, was running very high numbers, over 400 mg/dl [22.2 mmol/L]. I had given him extra insulin injections and kept him drinking fluids. While I was in for my x-rays, my son and daughter were sitting outside the room. A medical assistant came and told my son that he could not drink in their office. Both my son and my daughter told this person that he was diabetic and needed to drink fluids because of his high numbers. This medical assistant didn't care and made him dump out his drink. When I came out the kids told me what had happened. I questioned the medical assistants at the front desk and they said that because there were signs posted about "no drinks" and that they had every right to take away his drink. Can a diabetic be denied treating his condition when he feels it is necessary? I am looking for anything "legal" that I may need for future reference. I could not believe that anyone would not allow an eight year old diabetic to treat his condition.

Answer:

It is hard to believe that there is such confusion and inflexibility sometimes. I would suggest that you discuss the issue directly with the MEDICAL director of the department. It sounds like there is a great need for staff/employee education.

BS