From Massachusetts, USA:
As professionals seeing more reality of the newest, tiniest, victims of diabetes infants and toddlers in greater numbers, I was wondering if the current case of a Massachusetts couple being accused of murdering their infant child by starvation has bothered you, as it does me. Having a three year old diagnosed after seeking medical care several times without diabetes being considered by doctors, I don't think this is a stretch at all that this couple, whose lifestyle predominantly does not utilize medical treatment could have lost this infant to an undiagnosed onset of type 1 diabetes very easily, and it could have appeared that the infant had been starved to death. The same holds true in the recent death of a five year old in Michigan who was sent home with "gastric flu" and ended up back within hours in DKA and died.
I just keep thinking there but for the grace of God go I or any other parent of an infant or toddler that could have easily perished before the diabetes was discovered. This is happening because of lack of education of the medical professionals to even suspect diabetes in the infant or toddler, I believe. Even those of us who seek medical care are still at a far to great of risk of losing an infant or toddler to undiagnosed diabetes than needs to be, knowing what we know.
As professionals what would you want the public to know about type 1 diabetes in infants?
More than 20 years ago, my former supervisor had a son diagnosed with diabetes as an infant. The only major symptom was saturation of diapers and screaming for food. The lack of knowledge surrounding infants with diabetes has led her to becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator.
Since pre-verbal children cannot say "hey, I'm thirsty -- hey, I'm wet all the time" it behooves professionals to be really astute with regard to the disease.
[Editor's comment: Unfortunately, very young children can decompensate rapidly in face of undiagnosed diabetes or DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis]. The good news is that mortality in this age group has significantly decreased, and the diagnosis is being made much more quickly, preventing these devastating complications. However, please also note that sometimes bad things can happen despite the best efforts of health care providers as well as parents.
While I agree with you in principle, I cannot comment on the two cases you cite. It would very unfair to place "blame" on either the parents or the health care providers involved. We do not have all the details to even begin to sort this out. I can reasonably assure you that the health care providers, as well as the parents, were devastated by the deaths of these children.
It's always easier to look backward and second-guess what "should have been", but was not. Often, in hindsight things that were unclear suddenly come into focus. We can only hope that such cases are few and far between. SS]
Original posting 26 Jun 2002
Posted to Other
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:34
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