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Question:

From Port Orchard, Washington, USA:

I am a police chief who was arrested for DUI [driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs] following an accident. There was no alcohol in my system, but a blood test revealed trace amounts of legitimate prescription drugs that I had taken the day and night before for severe back spasms. I had not eaten for the previous 24 hours and, at the time, I did not know I had type 2 diabetes, which was diagnosed after three weeks of testing.

My doctor suspects I had hypoglycemia but can't prove it since no blood sugar tests were done at the accident scene. I was not capable of understanding what was happening to me while I was driving but I became extremely hungry prior to the accident, and I ate my sack lunch while driving. Please help me with any information you may have on people who have known or unknown diabetes having accidents while driving due to hypoglycemia. Because I'm a police chief, the prosecutor is refusing to drop the DUI charges whatsoever, and I need help.

Answer:

Anybody with low blood sugar is at increased risk of getting into an accident because of the effect of low blood sugar on reaction time. If the blood sugar wasn't tested at the time of the accident, you can't prove your blood sugar was low. If your doctor thinks your blood sugar was low at the time of the accident you can try to recreate the situation and see if your blood sugar truly goes low. You could do a controlled fast and have the doctor check your blood sugar to see if it goes low. I don't know if that will help you legally, but at least you will know in the future that your are prone to low blood sugars if you don't eat for too long and won't drive without eating. It is also possible, however, that the medication you took for your back pain caused you to be drowsy and contributed to your accident.

TGL

Additional comments from David S. Holtzman, Esq.:

We are not aware of any peer reviewed articles on the propensity of people with diagnosed or undiagnosed type 2 diabetes being involved in automobile accidents.

DSH

Additional comments from Lois Schmidt Finney, diabetes dietitian:

We do not usually see folks who present with hypoglycemia and also with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, so this sounds a bit unusual. Someone with type 2 diabetes may have hypoglycemia if they are on medications to lower their blood glucoses or on injections of insulin. It does sound like you might have had some hypoglycemia at the time of the incident, but that may have been due to not having eaten for 24 hours. I would suggest you try to secure services of a lawyer to try to see what your rights are.

LSF

DTQ-20020929161227
Original posting 2 Oct 2002
Posted to Other Social Issues

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:38
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