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Question:

From Hutchinson, Kansas, USA:

My 6 year old son died Nov. 13,1998. We had never heard anything about him having diabetes until we got his medical records. His glucose levels in the report were 210, 145, 166, 216, wb glucose 277, urine glucose 1000 a, 240, spinal fluid glucose 30, csf glucose 24. I was told those limits were way too high and some were way low. I have no idea about diabetes and we are exploring what caused our son's death. They list neisseria meningitis as the main cause of death, but some have said since he had diabetes and it was never diagnosed or treated with his glucose levels that he could have gone into a diabetic coma. They list one of the final diagnoses is diabetes insipidus. What is that?

Thank you and your help will be appreciated.

Answer:

I do not think that your son's unhappy death was due in any way to Diabetes Mellitus. His blood glucose levels were not particularly high especially if you consider that he was probably on an intravenous glucose drip at the time. These levels would have been much much higher if the meningococcal meningitis had precipitated diabetic acidosis and of course the prescence of ketones in the blood and urine would have been overwhelming. The meningitis could also have accounted for the relatively low csf. glucose levels: it might also have been the cause of a diabetes insipidus. This is a condition where the secretion of a hormone called vasopressin from the posterior part of the pituitary is diminished and as a result the kidneys are unable to retain body water normally. Another form of this disorder can be due to a primary abnormality in the kidney. I am rather at a loss to explain the single urinary glucose level; but here again the chart would have recorded a positive urine glucose in all specimens had this been overt clinical diabetes.

DOB

Original posting 16 Mar 1999
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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