32 Responses

  1. Liz
    Liz September 14, 2011 at 6:28 am | | Reply

    The question in everyone's mind is why did she pick chips over all the other things that could have been at or by her register. I was kind of hoping you would've asked her that...

  2. KristinW
    KristinW September 14, 2011 at 6:44 am | | Reply

    A new take on the "diabetes police," right?

  3. Traicy
    Traicy September 14, 2011 at 6:54 am | | Reply

    That was my first reaction too, then in an instant I thought that sometimes you think the way you should when you're low. At least I don't. In fact, I've done that same exact thing and grabbed chips when after the fact I clearly knew there were countless better things to grab so maybe that's what happened with her?

  4. Sarah
    Sarah September 14, 2011 at 7:22 am | | Reply

    As a fellow diabetic, I do wonder why she chose chips and not a candy bar.

    But still ridiculous actions by Walgreens.

  5. David
    David September 14, 2011 at 7:28 am | | Reply

    Boycott! Walgreen's is nothing special over other pharmacies. I don't need them. Do you?

  6. ted
    ted September 14, 2011 at 8:06 am | | Reply

    The reason she didn't pick up something that would've treated her sugar more quickly is that she was LOW and needed to EAT. I've been a type 1 diabetic for over 25 years now and when I get low I try to get a glucose shot or candy but if not - chips are MUCH better than passing out.
    I hope Walgreens gets hammered for this. I understand their rules but the rules are meant to keep people from STEALING - not this situation.
    Pharmacies like Walgreens court diabetic shoppers because they visit the pharmacy much more frequently and, because of that, are more apt to pick up other, higher margin, items.
    Thanks very much for sharing her story. Until I find out how they handle this (and they better make her WHOLE), I'm transferring my scripts out of my local Walgreens. There's a new CVS opening up right down the street this week...

  7. Liz
    Liz September 14, 2011 at 8:16 am | | Reply

    But... Loss prevention took her chips from her, and took her into an office to give her warnings, and talk to her, and whatnot... She may not even have gotten to eat much of those chips at all, if any. If she was that low, wouldn't she have needed more carbs during that interview, and could've passed out? I am quite skeptical... (And by the way, I was not questioning her choice of chips because of them being 'unhealthy' or something... Just that those counters by the register are generally full of candy and much better choices.)

  8. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell September 14, 2011 at 8:20 am | | Reply

    @Liz I had another tweeter mention the same issue. I recall a severe low that I had earlier this year. My kids ended up calling the ambulance, even though I had a vial of Dex4 tablets in my pocket. While the ambulance was on its way I came round enough to find them.

    I've also had this happen to me when in my home. I go looking for something to fix a low downstairs in the kitchen when I've got Dex4 tablets on my nightstand.

    The marvels of a brain deprived of glucose. It's a wonder I function at all sometimes!

  9. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell September 14, 2011 at 8:25 am | | Reply

    If anyone wants to spread the word, Walgreens is on Twitter as @Walgreens. I couldn't resist creating this URL to Amy's article

  10. Liz
    Liz September 14, 2011 at 8:35 am | | Reply

    I don't know... Normally I'd agree with all the reasons given, but I do think we don't have all the details, and information, and that something fishy is going on here... We're only seeing HER side of the story. I've been at the end of really discriminatory employers regarding my diabetes, so I am no stranger to these scenarios... but somehow, I just don't think she's telling the whole story. c

  11. Jennifer
    Jennifer September 14, 2011 at 10:07 am | | Reply

    We already dumped Walgreen's because of their poor treatment with our daughter's glucagon shot. When we were new at this, we bought a glucagon shot and when it expired 4 months later, we bought another. Then we found out they can typically last a year or more. When confronted the Walgreen's pharmacist said "your insurance will pay for up to four shots a year.' YEAH? But we pay a $50 deductible on every one!! Goodbye Walgreens, hello local family owned pharmacy -- with WONDERFUL caring service.

  12. kim
    kim September 14, 2011 at 11:17 am | | Reply

    The article states she takes two shots a day, so I am assuming that she perhaps has Type 2? For me, as a person with Type 1, a bag of chips could never raise my blood glucose quickly enough to prevent a severe low. It would take at least 30 minutes for my blood sugar to begin rising, maybe more. I have to use a fast acting CHO such as glucose tabs/nonchocolate candy/juice/soda/milk to rapidly raise my glucose level if I am really in trouble. But that is just me and we are all different. Either way, it is a shame to fire an exemplary employee for staying at her post and doing what she believed was best for her health and the company. Then again, my Walgreen's pharmacist's first response when she learned I had just been diagnosed with Type 1 was "You don't look like you have diabetes."

  13. mcityrk
    mcityrk September 14, 2011 at 11:27 am | | Reply

    1- Why did it take 3 years for this to work it's way up to a lawsuit?? 2-Seems like better judgement by the mangers in charge who knew her could have averted this whole deal, unless they already wanted to fire her for some other undisclosed [and probably discriminatory] reason.

  14. Sysy
    Sysy September 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm | | Reply

    1- I agree with the statement made by others that when you're low and out of sorts, sometimes you just grab some carbs, period. I've grabbed chips before, too.

    2- The article states she ate the bag of chips so she got her carbs. I wouldn't try to imagine her not finishing them and then go as far as assuming she is leaving part of the story out.

    3- This hopefully sets a precedence to similar happenings around the country. This is ridiculous treatment of an employee and policies shouldn't be so narrow minded as to exclude reasonable health emergencies.

    I'm with David, "boycott!"

  15. Barbara Duck
    Barbara Duck September 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm | | Reply

    This one got to me too and I am not a diabetic but my mother has been for 15-20 years and we had a little go around with Walgreens over her testing strips and the fact that for 15 years under MD directions, she tests twice a day, unless of course she feels a potential incident coming on and then she checks immediately. You can read more at my link but it came down to the fact that she was getting too many strips based n 3 times a day and she does 2 so the pharmacy insisted that she check 3 times a day.

    She called her health plan and her doctor, both said twice a day as she has been doing for 15 years was fine. The real reason behind this was at the time they didn't have an automated refill in the system for 2 times a day and this took her out of the automated procedure and then too they sell fewer strips,enough to make you nuts.

    It's not enough that the data selling business at Walgreens is worth just under $800 million as stated by their CFO, but every last dollar must count here when pushing sales I guess. What a mess and very stressful for someone in her 80s to be told she was doing everything wrong after 15 years and it didn't fit the auto refill situation.

    In some areas Walgreens works with United Health and gives pharmacists pay for performance for signing people up at the YMCA and other programs too, so no wonder premiums don't go down. We get back to letting the patient being involved again and for good reason in their healthcare. by the way I just about guessed too what the grounds were before I read this post too, we are still humans and some seem to lose track of this.

  16. T1 in Boston
    T1 in Boston September 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm | | Reply

    C'mon, people criticizing her choice of fast-acting carbs, let's put this into perspective: Josefina is a 50+ mom with diabetes (mostly likely Type II), a woman of color and immigrant, who speaks English as a second language, and who did not know her legal rights on the job. Perhaps she even developed diabetes after some years with the company (18 is a lot by any standard), and Walgreens did not want a long-time senior worker (who may receive an hourly wage commensurate to her years with the company?) with a difficult illness. To me, it sounds like discrimination, which is why the EEOC took it on. Such cases often take years to surface when concerning a population that remains unaware of its basic legal rights at the workplace (and is hence more easily exploited).

    Amy, good for you for publicizing this case to the DOC. I hope it leads to a positive negotiated settlement, for all our sake.

  17. Doug
    Doug September 15, 2011 at 5:49 am | | Reply

    Like many others I dont understand why she picked Chips
    She is at Walgreens. All kinds of sugar is EVERYWHERE. Including Glucose tablets. Assuming that we are hearing the real story. How much easier would her story be to believe if she was eating her 3rd of glucose tab from a $1.25 tube she grabbed from the shelf ...

    Having said all that Corporations today so frequently hire people with NO sense, so the companies work VERY hard to remove all common sense and judgement from decisions. I'm sure the company policies are written in a way to prevent the Assistant manager and the loss prevention people from having ANY wiggle room, if they want to keep their jobs.

  18. Mary Dexter
    Mary Dexter September 15, 2011 at 5:56 am | | Reply

    The last comment brought up an interesting point: not all retail establishments offer health benefits to all employees. Sometimes those benefits don't begin until after a year's employment and most of their employees don't last that long; they get pushed out one way or another. A teenager (or series of them) making minimum wage and not qualifying for benefits (and probably never using them even if they did) is cheaper. So I'm glad the EEOC is enforcing the ADA.
    On a second note: whereas I always look for sugar when going low because I'm LADA, my Type 2 friends refuse my glucose tablets and reach for carbs (bread, crackers, chips), so I'm guessing their lows work differently than mine. They don't want fast-acting carbs, but slower ones.

  19. Health Blog
    Health Blog September 15, 2011 at 6:55 am | | Reply

    Sacking from job for eating a bag of chips is ridiculous, that too if a person have diabetes and needed to eat the chips bag for hypoglycemia problem.

  20. Stoyan
    Stoyan September 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm | | Reply

    Cases like this are quite unsettling, indeed. It shows both a lack of understanding for the disease, and at the same time a lack of human consideration. What makes is that much worse is that it is a company that is supposed to care about people's health. Mistakes happen, yes, but it makes you question all the big companies and organizations that sometimes leave behind logic and practicality for corporate policies.

    Still, it is good to see that not all such stories are being buried, and that some of them are coming to light. As a diabetes community, the more informed we are about what is going on, the more support we can give one another.

  21. Anna
    Anna September 15, 2011 at 11:05 pm | | Reply

    "No tolerance" policies mean that no one can think or make a judgement call. It's much easier for companies to have these policies because then they don't need to worry about hiring people who might be able to think and make decisions.

  22. crock malcome
    crock malcome September 15, 2011 at 11:06 pm | | Reply

    she worked there for 18 years and she didn't know the policy? I'm sure she had sighned on one those computer surveys that she fully understood the policy, looks like she had been grazing one to many chips, already, she should have called the manager to get off the register and be replaced with someone else,

  23. AmyT
    AmyT September 16, 2011 at 7:19 am | | Reply

    @crock - are you serious? Have you ever experienced hypoglycemia? The main symptoms are CONFUSION and PANIC. Not a time for a rational phone call to your manager about shift changes... if you can even find the freakin' phone...

  24. Kathy
    Kathy September 16, 2011 at 8:26 am | | Reply

    This story raises another question in my mind. What would Walgreen's do to me as a Type 1 diabetic customer if I had a "low" while shopping in their store? In our local Walgreen's store the 'Diabetic section' where the glucose tablets are displayed is way at the back of the store. I've had lows come so quickly that no way could I have make it to the back of the store, much less grab a pkt of tablets, walk to the front of the store and pay for them before I could open them and eat one or two. As Amy said in the above post "CONFUSION and PANIC" are alive and well when a low hits.

  25. sara
    sara September 18, 2011 at 7:20 am | | Reply

    Thanks for the article!

  26. Sarah
    Sarah September 19, 2011 at 1:04 am | | Reply

    While I do indeed feel sorry for this poor woman if the story is true, I agree that the story simply does not add up.

    1.) If this person was indeed experiencing severe enough hyopglycemia that she needed to blindly scarf down whatever was in front of her, there is no way a few chips would have enabled her to head down to the loss prevention office and pay for the chips. Every time I've had a severe low, I'm passing out without rapid glucose. I can't think straight let alone walk or talk. So if she was THAT low that she needed to grab some chips at her work site, but not low enough to still go talk to the loss prevention team, WHY would she have grabbed chips?

    2.) This woman is clearly a T2. It's rather rare for a T2 to have a severe unexpected hypo attack.

    Me thinks this woman simply was hungry (and she's a big woman with T2) and she grabbed whatever junk food snack she could find. Did anyone tell this poor lady that if she *stopped* eating chips and candy and lost weight, her diabetes might be better controlled in the first place?! Most T2s need a solid snack with complex carbs and protein to keep them stable. Candy for lows will simply send them spiking up and crashing down again. All in all, it is a rather sad case regardless of how you look at it. She was likely fired because someone like her is rightfully flagged as a huge health risk and cost.

  27. Carla
    Carla September 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm | | Reply

    Those that questioned what food item she chose to grab should go back to your local Walgreens and look at the cashier again. The Pharmacy is in the back of the store and the Glucose tablets are back there. In order to get to those, she would have had to leave her cash register. And the candy aisle is between the registers and the pharmacy. So that option was out as well.

    It is quite likely that she grabbed the closest food product to her register so that she would NOT have to leave the register and face other punishment from the management. If chips were a store special that week, they would have been within her reach. Candy would have been on the other side of the register unless it was a featured special.

    When companies chose policy over people, situations like this happen. This isn't the first and won't be the last, I'm sure.

  28. Janet
    Janet September 23, 2011 at 3:30 am | | Reply

    What happened to Mrs. Hernandez infuriates me! Just last week Walgreens sent me a letter asking me to contact my Human Resources department on their behalf. Why? Because Walgreens doesn't like the contract Express Scripts is setting up for them in 2012, so they are going to leave it on the table. But when they do that, they are going to lose all of the regular visits of all their diabetic patients like me to their pharmacy. As @ted stated, Walgreens likes diabetic shoppers because they are regulars and buy other items when they visit. Walgreens wants diabetic shoppers but not diabetic employees? That's just not right.

  29. Joanne
    Joanne December 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm | | Reply

    Walgreen's has no heart! There are no exceptions to zero-tolerance for anything. No one gives the benefit of the doubt at that corporation. I'm sure you've heard about the young Michigan pharmacist who defended himself with a gun during a robbery -- he was fired because Walgreen's has a no-weapon policy. He has hired an attorney as well. There are other examples of out-and-out firings of long-term dedicated employees over a minor infraction. What the heck -- policy over people just isn't right. And I pray Josefina wins her case.

  30. melba
    melba January 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm | | Reply

    My friend use to work at Walgreens and was not even perm to have water up front working for hours. I hope she wins because they treat old workers there like garbage.Very Sad.

  31. lazydave
    lazydave February 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm | | Reply

    She got caught snacking. Probably happened many times before. They wanted her out. You can imagine several possible reasons why. She is crying blood sugar, but her actions just don't fit her description of the event. I think she is lying in this case.

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