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From Tampa, Florida, USA:

Approximately two months ago, my 57 year old father (who has had type 2 diabetes about five years), began serving a nine month prison sentence, and when he self-reported to the institution, he brought all of his diabetes supplies and medications. Since then, all of his medications have been changed, and he has only had one test in seven weeks. He explained that he tests twice per day, and they told him that "all those frequent tests were overrated" He has tried twice more for tests and was refused.

He is feeling very lethargic and weak, and on a recent visit by my sister (an RN) and my brother (a fireman/EMT), observed him begin to pass out which they treated him with candy bars and apple juice. They believe his blood sugar is now too low and all the medication changes should have been managed more closely.

We would like to not raise a fuss as he has a short sentence, but my siblings in the health care field say this is serious, and, if action is not taken he may not make it until then or he could develop severe long lasting complications such as eye problems, kidney issues, etc. Any information or direction would be appreciated.


Your father has a constitutional right to appropriate medical care while incarcerated. There is no need to fear that your father will face retribution for attempting to have his diabetes treated while in prison. Contact the your father's attorney and seek his/her assistance in raising these concerns with the jail administration. If necessary, seek transfer to a correctional medical facility.


Additional comments from Delaine M. Wright, Clinical Exercise Physiologist:

The frequency of blood glucose testing will vary from individual to individual, and will depend on a number of variables including class (type) of oral medication or insulin (which may increase the risk of hypoglycemia). A plan for monitoring should be developed between the person with diabetes and his/her healthcare team. The standards of care for patients with diabetes address the importance of monitoring. Perhaps your father's healthcare team outside of the correction system (in addition to your family) could be of assistance in emphasizing this. Your family's lawyer should also be able to assist in negotiating the correction system and its medical care.


[Editor's comment: See American Diabetes Association Position Statement: Management of Diabetes in Correctional Institutions (Diabetes Care 26:S129-S130, 2003). You might contact your local ADA affiliate for assistance in this matter. SS]

Original posting 11 Oct 2003
Posted to Daily Care


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:52
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