Sunday, September 04, 2005

GCC later... one more Gulf update

Later today, I will post my ENORMOUSLY TARDY Girlfriends Cyber Circuit interview with the amazing Julie Kenner. I have been very wrapped up in the hurricane issue, as many of you have, and I have been sadly neglectful of Julie. I hope she will forgive me. Julie, if you're reading this, it'll be up this afternoon!

A friend of mine reports via a Knoxville paramedic that of the approximately 90 patients he helped escort to a Knoxville hospital, about 13 (maybe more) were Type 1 Diabetics who'd had no insulin for days, in serious DKA. Please keep these very needy people in your thoughts and prayers.

IF YOU HAVE ANY SPARE SUPPLIES (no insulins) PLEASE donate them to dLife Relief, 101 Franklin Street, Westport, CT 06880. Also, don't be afraid to ask your local pharmacist if they can give dented or opened test strips, meters, etc. My local pharmacist gave $2000 worth of supplies that were gathering dust in a storeroom!

Here is an update via Nicole Johnson Baker and dLife~

Medicine, health supplies in dire need in Gulf
By Anita Manning, USA TODAY
Millions of dollars worth of medications and health supplies are heading toward Gulf residents affected by Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that followed, but the last step — getting the drugs to the patients who need them — is proving to be the most difficult.

"The dire circumstances are that you've got people who have been without insulin or oral medications for four days now, and they're dying," said Nicole Johnson Baker, a former Miss America (1999), who has type 1 diabetes and has be come a spokeswoman for diabetes.

"We have dialysis patients that will be dying today, tomorrow, the next day."

Residents of the hurricane-ravaged states have diabetes rates higher than the national average of 6.3%. In Alabama and Mississippi, 8.9% of residents are diabetic, and 7.4% of those in Louisiana have the disease. Diabetes is marked by high blood sugar levels that can, if left untreated, lead to kidney failure, stroke and circulation problems that may result in amputation.

Baker was in Baton Rouge on Friday as part of a congressional delegation led by Rep. Curt Weldin (R-Pa.) that is working with governors, police and others to identify a staging area where medical supplies can be distributed.

Americans have been riveted to their televisions all week, witnessing incredible scenes of desperation, including images of people stranded on a rooftop with a sign asking for diabetes supplies, and a woman with diabetes collapsing in front of news cameras.

"This is all preventable," Baker said Friday, "if we can just get a location, which is our frustration today."

Pharmaceutical companies and nonprofit groups have donated money and medical supplies for diabetes and other diseases, and others are mobilizing to transport them. Eli Lilly and Co. contributed $1 million in cash to the American Red Cross and another $1 million worth of insulin through Heart to Heart and the Red Cross. Pfizer has donated human and veterinary medicines, $1 million for rebuilding hospitals and health centers and another $1 million to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way. And Novo Nordisk is donating $500,000 to the Red Cross, providing insulin products and disposable, prefilled insulin injection pens.

The CDC Foundation, an inde pendent non-profit that supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, received a $2 million grant from the Kaiser Permanente Foundation to support the public health response to the disaster. The foundation will begin distributing $50,000 to each of the affected states for immediate use this week- end, says spokeswoman Kate Rudden.

Tom Karlya., vice president of dLife., a weekly TV program devoted to diabetes which airs on CNBC, said his company, based in Westport, Conn., is collecting donated supplies and said Friday that 27 cases of diabetes meters, test strips and other diabetes needs have been given by "individuals, chil dren, even (diabetes) camps who called and said they weren't using them."

Karlya said the supplies will be delivered overnight at no cost by DHL, the express delivery company, to the Pennington Research Center, which is affiliated with Louisiana State University on Saturday, and the state pharmacy division has agreed to distribute the supplies.

American Diabetes Association spokeswoman Diane Tuncer says the agency has been told that there are ample diabetes supplies already in the area, but "the challenge in getting supplies to hard-hit areas is the security issue."

She says some of the drivers delivering supplies "have felt in danger.

"I talked to one of the hospitals yesterday and they're saying what they need are armed guards."