24 Responses

  1. Tesney
    Tesney April 5, 2007 at 7:09 am | | Reply

    “The fact is Mr. Burns assaulted our officer,” Cessina said. “If he had just stood there and let us help him, maybe they would have called the medics if he didn’t seem to fit the description of being under the influence.” ~ABC News

    This statement is what infuriates me the most! This officer is obviously clueless about the bizarre behavior diabetics can display during a low…especially when desperately trying to get something in their system to correct the hypoglycemia. I’m hoping the judge has more education than the authorities in this case!

  2. julia
    julia April 5, 2007 at 7:49 am | | Reply

    Oh my god, this pisses me off. Maybe the ADA and JDRF should do some outreach to local police forces. This is ridiculous.

  3. Linda B.
    Linda B. April 5, 2007 at 2:21 pm | | Reply

    having personal experience with a paramedic who was trying to treat me with an IV outside the front door of my house, I fought them tooth and nail and kept telling, no screaming, let me in my house I know where the sugar is and can get to it quicker than you poking me with that needle several times. He and two other medics actually held me down, pretty much sitting on me to finally get the IV in. After they were satisfied that I was ok in their eyes I told them both to kiss my backside and requested the EMS people be retrained to recognize the difference, If a diabetic can talk to you and tell you what they need, don’t resrain them, especially outside their front door when they are just a key turn away from what they need. Granted if I am having a seizure because I’m so low or am totally unconcious, by all means put in an IV. But to go to the point of forcibly restraining someone when they are responding and can tell you what they need and are in the process of getting to that treatment the best course of action I feel would be let them get what they need follow thm in there houseto make sure that I do get my tablets or sugary soda and am more coherent. Hearing about these tazering and arrests is scary I wear at least two different medical ID’s because these people are supposedly trained to look for these. But whats the point if they don’t bother to look at all. I have had to point out my med ID’s more than once to these professionals to try and get their attention. God forbid I ever get tazered, with my heart arrythmias I would probably have a heart attack. Better to let me treat myself because no matter how low I have ever gone (sometimes in the teens) I always have one word I repeat over and over SUGAR…must get SUGAR. They need to train health care pros to recognize these things, most of the time they do not do any real training. I was in the health care profession for several years and there was no training or awareness training given to me, not just for diabetes but for several other diseases as well.All of my diabetic training I learned as I was growing up not from anything I learned from nurses training.

  4. Sarah
    Sarah April 5, 2007 at 6:53 pm | | Reply

    I think a MAJOR problem is that Type 1 and Type 2 are linked together as “diabetes”.

    It’s too confusing to tell people about Type 1 diabetes and then follow up with the fact that diabetes “is a growing epidemic that must be stopped” (Type 2), as presented in most media articles that even bother to mention Type 1. They need different names. “Autoimmune Insulin Deficiency” *really* describes Type 1.

  5. Anne
    Anne April 5, 2007 at 7:34 pm | | Reply

    I agree with Sarah. They do need different names.

  6. joan
    joan April 5, 2007 at 9:31 pm | | Reply

    Boy, this story takes me back in time when my mom (a type 1 like me) was stopped by the police for suspicion of being “drunk” while driving. She had been to the dentist and had an anesthesia with epinephrine which really lowered her blood sugar. Despite the fact she was wearing a Medic Alert bracelet and told the offices she was diabetic and having a low, they insisted on taking her to the police station (about a 30 minute drive away) and not to the nearby hospital. They did say, however, they would not “put handcuffs” on her. To make a long story a little shorter, the outcome was that the police started getting better training in the difference between hypoglycemia and being drunk (this was a good thing).

    On the other side of the equation, my aunt (also a Type 1 on the other side of the family) was also stopped by the police while hypoglycemic and the office gave her an apple out of his own lunch!

  7. Tormo
    Tormo April 5, 2007 at 9:54 pm | | Reply

    > “Autoimmune Insulin Deficiency”
    > *really* describes Type 1.

    But then you’d have to keep telling people you had AID, not AIDS!!!

    Incidentally, I always keep a few hard candies (individually-wrapped Werthers Originals) in my pocket with my change. That’s always worked in case I can’t get to anything else quickly enough. But then I always wear pants with pockets; that wouldn’t be the case for everyone.

  8. Kevin
    Kevin April 6, 2007 at 3:57 am | | Reply

    I work for a police department (not as an officer though) and can say I put no blame in this on the officer’s fault. Anyone can get a medic alert bracelet for any condition. I have tons of friends that have them for Asthma. So until the officers see what the bracelet says they have to take every situation the same.

    The problem with this situation is that Mr. Universe took a swing at the officers. So are officers now suppose to let eveyrone take a swing at them until they can verify if the person is diabetic or not? If so, then our country will take a huge spiral downhill.

    Someone above mentioned drunk driving. I guess diabetics never get drunk? If so tell that to the person at college I picked up off the street that was beyond intoxicated for me to find out as we put her in the ambulance she was also diabetic. She actually had blood alcohol poisoning. My other point here with the drunk driving is what says then that everyone that wants to drink won’t just go out and buy a medic alert bracelet for diabetes. They can then drive drunk with a get our of jail free pass.

    This is a situation we all have to be aware of that can happen. We need to just make sure that we take care of ourselves enough that it doesn’t happen.

    Here in Cincinnati we had Police Officers shoot and kill a mentally ill person about 2 years ago. The subject ran at them with a butcher’s knife leaving them no option but to shoot which ended up being a fatal shot. Should the officers have let the mental person stab them first?

    We just need to live with it and move on. It’s unfortunate that it can happen. But even with proper training to police, they still can’t tell why a crazy person is going to charge at them and take a swing. They don’t have time to evaluate the person. And if Mr. Universe was standing in front of me and took a swing at me, I’d do the same thing as until now, I had no idea what he looked like.

  9. wil
    wil April 6, 2007 at 4:33 am | | Reply

    I’ve been on both sides of this situation as an EMT-P and as the recipient of numerous beatings from a type-1 diabetic who chose individualism over treatment of his disease. Fault the police for ignorance if you want, but I have been pummeled unconscious by a loved one with hypoglycemia — why should a police officer, when confronted with a Mr. Universe-type exhibiting the appearance of an aggressive drunk, be faulted for a defensive posture and an active take-down when the individual became aggressive? Regardless of the cause, he was in process of assaulting the local LEO’s. That justifies the employment of significant force to bring the situation under control. Even if they could identify the problem as low blood sugar, I contend they would have no alternative but respond with force in such a situation.

    I have type-2 diabetes; my hypoglycemic experiences have not been as severe. Still, I’m a big man and strong. I would pose a significant threat of harm if I was frantic, seeking sugar, and someone, anyone, got in my way. I would expect similar treatment by the police. I wouldn’t like it; but, I certainly would understand why the respond in the manner they did.

  10. "honey sweet"
    "honey sweet" April 6, 2007 at 6:45 am | | Reply

    Danger WillRobinson

    Amy Tenderich, author of the Diabetes Mine blog, writes about the difficulties that the law enforcement has in recognizing someone with diabetic hypoglycemia. I have been thinking about this for quite some time. While I have had only a few scary lows…

  11. "honey sweet"
    "honey sweet" April 6, 2007 at 6:45 am | | Reply

    Danger WillRobinson

    Amy Tenderich, author of the Diabetes Mine blog, writes about the difficulties that the law enforcement has in recognizing someone with diabetic hypoglycemia. I have been thinking about this for quite some time. While I have had only a few scary lows…

  12. "honey sweet"
    "honey sweet" April 6, 2007 at 6:45 am | | Reply

    Danger WillRobinson

    Amy Tenderich, author of the Diabetes Mine blog, writes about the difficulties that the law enforcement has in recognizing someone with diabetic hypoglycemia. I have been thinking about this for quite some time. While I have had only a few scary lows…

  13. Tesney
    Tesney April 6, 2007 at 9:35 am | | Reply

    In response to Kevin & Wil-
    I have no problem with the
    officer(s) involved protecting their selves and the public from someone who is acting aggressively by using force if they have no other choice. My problem lies with the fact that they are going ahead with charges despite the fact that the actions of Mr. Burns were obviously a result of hypoglycemia.

  14. Kevin
    Kevin April 7, 2007 at 8:58 am | | Reply

    The problem Tesney is we don’t know the full story. Remember, I’m in law enforcement so I see stuff like this day in and day out. Here’s an example of a simple arrest and my general thoughts on what happened.

    If someone attacks a police officer they are going to jail. The process of going to jail means charges are then assigned to the person. You CANNOT put someone in jail if they ARE NOT under arrest and charges ARE NOT ASSIGNED against them. I’m not sure if Mr. Universe went to jail or not as the media hasn’t said that. He could have been arrested and released. Also, when was the life squad called? And even if they arrived at the time of the original incident the prior incident still took place with him assualting the officer.

    So…now we know he’s diabetic…what do you do? Do you know for a 100% fact that the reason he assualted the police officer was because of the low? If so, dang, I’ll keep that in mind and when I want to fight someone just purposely run slightly low. Do you see the problem that causes? If the polcie let him go, then it would be allowing any diabetic a reason to fight. And don’t tell me all 24 million known diabetics are perfect citizens cause you know that’s bull as well as I do.

    So the solution is arrest the person, cite them to court, and let the courts figure it out. Remember, a charge of arrest does not mean guilty. It means at the time the facts made one look guilty, then the courts straighten it out to what truely happened. We don’t have time at the scene of an incident to verify and call lab techs and medical doctors to what truely caused him to lunge at police.

    You have to look at what happened at that time and what precident a wrong action could cause in the future. Would more training to police help? Yes, but there are millions of medical conditions and not enough funding in the country for police to be trained on everything.

  15. Tesney
    Tesney April 7, 2007 at 6:30 pm | | Reply

    You raise some very good points. I do appreciate law enforcement & the (often thankless) job they do to protect our society. I definitely agree that not all diabetics are model citizens & diabetes should not give an individual carte blanc to do anything they want. FWIW, and I’m going off memory here, so I may be wrong, but I believe in the story released by ABC (and who knows if the media is reporting the story correctly) Mr. U’s low was verified by medical personnel. I just think it’s ridiculous to think that a diabetic experiencing a low would “just stand there” when trying to get to some sugar. I guess I’m just looking for a more empathetic response from the authorities if Mr. U was in fact low. I have become physical during a low when my husband was trying to take my blood sugar before I went to get some candy from the pantry. I knew I was low and just wanted to get some sugar immediately…no time for a finger stick. That’s how irrationally I was thinking at the time. I feel like I need ot say that typically I’m extremely mild-mannered (I’m a child & adolescent therapist so I have to have a pretty cool head to do my job well). Anyway, points well taken. :)

  16. Sarah
    Sarah April 9, 2007 at 1:59 am | | Reply

    The point is that too often, Type 1 diabetics have unexpected and severe low blood sugars. While some of this CAN be avoided, others times it can’t be, due to longstanding Type 1 diabetes, tight control, hypoglycemia unawareness, autonomic neuropathy from diabetes, a quick drop in blood sugar, other hormonal imbalances common in Type 1′s (such as impaired glucogon response and diseases like Addison’s), as well as many other “x” factors.

    The point is, Type 1 diabetics CANNOT replace a pancreas with insulin injections, and we should not blame the victim for having this severe, non-preventable genetic autoimmune condiiton. We wouldn’t blame someone with congestive heart failure for having a heart attack, so why should we charge a Type 1 diabetic for having a *documented* low blood sugar?

    It’s well known in the medical communities that long standing Type 1 diabetes and tight control of said diabetes raises the risk for hypoglycemic unawareness. And we also know that some diabetics get violent due to hypoglycemia, not even being *aware* or in control of their actions. The brain does not act the way it should in abscence of sufficient glucose or oxygen.

    Perhaps what needs to be blamed is the TREATMENT of Type 1 diabetes and the failure of the medical community. Instead of blaming the victim for trying to survive and control his disease, perhaps we should work harder to CURE it, and stop the horrible issues it causes.

    While I understand that precautions need to be taken, I think that any officer/Rent a Cop who freaks out without considering all options:

    a) Is not intelligent/calm/insightful/observant enough to have that job. Panic and failing to properly assess a situation does not help the public.

    b) Does not understand that the job they signed up to due requires some risk (i.e. Use some force to subdue someone, but don’t beat an obviously ill man senseless).

    c) Does not understand basic medical situations they may encounter, or know when the situation is out of their league and the paramedics should be called. Provided Mr.U was not trying to harm anyone else and was simply reaching for a Coke at the candy stand, I can’t see why any of this happened.

    I find it hard to believe someone would think he was drunk when he did not smell like even a drop of alcohol.

    While “diabetics” are imperfect people at times too, the vast majority of Type 1 diabetics are fighting to simply continuing living every day. We don’t need people trying to stop us from helping ourselves. We don’t need people assuming we are drunk and letting us fall into a coma because they were to lazy to look for a medical alert bracelet. It’s apparent that the *average* citizen and/or Type 2 diabetic will never have any clue of how hard it is to manage this disease.

    In this day and age, this should not be happening. Due to the explosion of Type 2 diabetes, no one remembers what Type 1 is or the severity of it. They all think about their “Aunt Bessie” who had to simply “watch her diet” and “stay away from sugar”.

  17. Jim J
    Jim J April 10, 2007 at 12:31 pm | | Reply

    You’er very sexy

  18. DemetnedM
    DemetnedM April 11, 2007 at 10:51 am | | Reply

    Actually, if you go to today they have an article about stem cell transplants apparently ‘curing’ Type 1 diabetes. Very interesting stuff which was done in Brasil since US researchers ‘weren’t interested.’

    As for the arrest,if the police were so ignorant that they don’t recognize hypoglycemia, it’s expecting too much to think they wouldn’t arrest. Hopefully the prosecutor has half a brain and will dismiss the case.

    Or does the law hold us liable for the things we do while we are medically incapacitated??? For example, if a hypoglycemic episode caused a fatal car accident, is the diabetic driver liable?

    M who has PCOS which is like pre-diabetes but worse.

  19. Kevin D
    Kevin D April 13, 2007 at 9:22 am | | Reply

    [i]Or does the law hold us liable for the things we do while we are medically incapacitated??? For example, if a hypoglycemic episode caused a fatal car accident, is the diabetic driver liable?[/i]

    Yes and no. There are some cases where you can use medical reasons to get out of cases. However, that also highly depends on the severity of the case.

    If the person gets behind the wheel of the car and kills someone it would be a long drawn out case. The prosecution would have a strong case and the entire time media would be making diabetics look worse than we are. Here are some strong stances the prosecution would have…

    1) How long have you been diabetic? Depending on the time frame, you may not have a case to stand on using you didn’t know.

    2) How long have you had a driver’s license? If you are diabetic, most states require you to inform the BMV in that state. Failure to do so may result in you getting your license suspended from court. This will also add to your neglect.

    3) Did you test your blood sugar before driving? I have not met a doctor that does not recommend that and I strongly encourage it. Even for a 2 minute drive. A car to a diabetic is like a gun to a sharpshooter. While the chances are very slim anything can go wrong, both are a deadly weapon at the wrong time.

    The prosecution would have a strong case for at least vehicular homicide. Then once you get out of that court case, then you have the civil court case to deal with for the death. And even if you win one case, you may lose the other (that’s what happened to OJ Simpson.)

    Sorry to get off topic, but wanted to clear that up.

  20. M. Smith
    M. Smith March 30, 2008 at 8:53 am | | Reply

    My brother was killed by a supposed ‘diabetic driver’ in 2007 and I am trying to comprehend how there is nothing the motor vehicle department requires of diabetic drivers (non commercial, commercial cannot obtain a lic. if they are diabetic) and how the rest of us are supposed to feel safe with people who do not do a good job of maintaining their health and then get behind the wheel. I personally feel that people at risk of a diabetic episode should be required to have a ‘breathalizer’ style device similar to those used for people convicted of drunk driving to assure they are capable of driving. This may sound harsh and impeding the rights of diabetics however if you cannot exert the mental skills necessary to navigate a motor vehicle there is no reason you should present a risk to the rest of the motoring public.

    The angry brother of a man killed by a diabetic driver ‘having an eposode’.

  21. Danger Will Robinson | Khürt
    Danger Will Robinson | Khürt April 2, 2009 at 8:42 am |

    [...] Tenderich, author of the Diabetes Mine blog, writes about the difficulties that the law enforcement has in recognizing someone with diabetic hypoglycemia. I have been thinking about this for quite some time. While I have had only a few scary lows I [...]

  22. Medic Alert Feedback and What Can We Do? | Scott's Diabetes

    [...] that you need help.  Amy Tenderich at covered a lot of ground with her posts about Doug Burns back in April of 2007.  She even started a huge dialogue about coming up with some “code [...]

  23. Betty
    Betty June 25, 2012 at 8:58 am | | Reply

    We do have a metter for testing blood glucose levels that is more effective than a breathalizer for drunks, it is called a glucometer, and yes we should use it!
    There are some reasons why a reaction should be understood as being it a “blameless” frame and that is when a person got a bad batch of insulin and does not realize it, when the does needs to go up or down as it does periodically before it is noted, and in the case of other ilnessess causing bad reactions with the insulin that are not normally a problem. Would that it could be, but we are not psychic.

  24. Betty
    Betty June 25, 2012 at 8:59 am | | Reply

    dose rather*

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