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Question:

From Louisa, Kentucky, USA:

What are the restrictions for a person with type 1 diabetes joining the US armed forces? If they are accepted, are there any limits to the jobs offered them?

Answer:

People with diabetes cannot join the US armed services at all at present. This is discriminatory, but nobody has yet successfully challenged the US law. Only Israel and Switzerland, to my knowledge, allow non-combatant positions for folks with diabetes. All the rest of the world does not allow people with diabetes to enlist or to stay in the service because of fears of lack of medication and/or insulin reactions during critical times. This is all archaic since there are more non-combatant positions than combatant positions except in full war situations -- and even then this could be arranged easily, but until somebody challenges this in court, things are unlikely to change.

SB

Additional comments from Dr. Donough O'Brien:

I believe the answer is that you cannot enlist. See Military Enlistment Standards.

DOB

Additional comments from Dr. Frank Varon:

I am pretty sure it is considered a pre-existing medical condition and a disqualification from entering the Armed Forces.

FV

Additional comments from David Holtzman:

The questioner can contact their local Armed Forces Recruiting Center. They will have this information. The phone number for this office is in the phone book, listed under US Government.

DH

Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

Cannot join the US armed services at all at present. THis is discriminatory but nobody has yet successfully challenged the US law. Only Israel and Switzerland, to my knowledge, allow non-combatant positions for folks with diabetes. All the rest of the world does not allow people with diabetes to enlist or to stay in the service because of fears of lack of medication and/or insulin reactions during critical times. THis is all archaic since there are more non-combatant positions than combatant positions except in full war situations -- and even then this could be arranged easily. But until somebody challenges this in court, things are unlikely to change. Stuart J. Brink, MD, NEDEC

SB

Additional comments from Dr. David Schwartz:

How about asking his/her local recruiter?

I had a high schooler who wanted to join the Navy. They would not accept him because of his diabetes but apparently the "merchant marines" would. Also, I know several physicians with Type 1 diabetes who are in the reserve, so I think it depends upon your role in the military. (Would being in the Marine Band not be allowed because of diabetes?)

IDS

DTQ-20010925092439
Original posting 9 Oct 2001
Posted to Other Social Issues

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:26
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