Monday, September 05, 2005

Insulin from Emergency Rooms

I wrote this for a writers' forum late this evening, but I would really like to hear from my fellow d-bloggers regarding what you think about this.

My diabetes email loop has been discussing and discussing that footage of that little girl at the Convention Center in serious Diabetic Ketoacidosis because in addition to not having eaten for 4 days (like all those there), she hadn't had her insulin in 4 days either. Someone gave her insulin and she seemed to stabilize, but for how long? I wonder about her. But not too often, because I don't want to follow my thoughts down that logical pathway, because DKA is not reversible once begun without hospitalization, insulin, saline and potassium IVs, and that wasn't happening for her in the immediate future.

My D list has been discussing this quite a bit as you might imagine (and if you know anyone who may have extra supplies I can tell you where to send them), and some on the list marveled that this girl's family would have left their home without insulin. Why did that happen? Don't most of us keep at least a couple of weeks' worth of supplies on hand?

Well, yes. But, many of the people from NOLA we saw on TV programs, live on the edge. They don't have health insurance. They get their insulin from emergency rooms. These are the folks who, even without a Katrina-scale crisis, end up on dialysis at 35.

I am sad. That girl could have been our son. He was in serious DKA too, at diagnosis, due to the stupidity of the pediatricians we no longer use in our very privileged, affluent and mainly white community.

Had we been black and living in New Orleans pre-Katrina? Had we not had immediate access to our emergency room, had we not had alert doctors there (happy I'm sure to be working in affluent Marin County)?

I don't want to think about it.

I hope this situation makes our government and our citizens ask some hard questions.

The tragedy of these folks goes beyond Katrina and I hope this catastrophe brings poverty to the forefront in this country, but I am not optimistic given our current administration.