Monday, October 24, 2005

Mother of Dead Girl Missed the Signs

More on this awful story.... By the way, sorry posting's been light this past week, I've been very busy wrapping up all the last details on our diabetes walk and I CAN SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE FIRST DRAFT TUNNEL ON THE NEW NOVEL! As a consequence though, I'm writing nearly every spare minute. Bad blogger! Bad blogger!

Here goes.... This story is so tragic. Oh, and having dealt with DKA and having spoken with many others who have dealt with DKA, I can say the prosecution is correct. DKA develops over days, not minutes. Ketones can develop quickly, but not this. Not what happened to little Ariel. Here is the LINK.

Detective: Mother treated daughter's potentially fatal symptoms like the flu

LAS VEGAS — A homicide detective told jurors Friday that Cheryl Botzet treated her 11-year-old daughter as if she had the flu when the girl displayed symptoms that could be fatal to diabetics.

"She said she gave [Ariel Botzet] Gatorade and Pepto-Bismol," Detective Mark McNett of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police told jurors Friday.

Previous prosecution witnesses, including a doctor and a nurse, have all testified that Botzet was instructed several times that flu-like symptoms such as vomiting and nausea in her diabetic daughter could be signs of a potentially fatal lack of insulin in her system.

But despite that information, and instructions to seek medical help immediately if her daughter threw up even once, McNett said that Botzet told him she waited until the morning of Feb. 6, 2004, to take Ariel to a clinic. Even then, she didn't tell her own doctor.

"She said [Ariel] couldn't throw up anymore, so she took her to the doctor's," McNett testified.

After the Botzets arrived at a Las Vegas medical clinic, Ariel was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she lapsed into unconsciousness. She died three days later from a cerebral edema, a complication that arises from diabetic keto-acidosis, or DKA, a condition caused by insulin deficiency.

Prosecutors allege that Botzet effectively murdered her daughter Ariel, a Type-1 diabetic, by deliberately withholding insulin and proper medical care. Botzet is charged with first-degree murder and could face a life sentence if convicted.

Botzet's lawyer, Herb Sachs, contends that his client did everything she could for the child. He has said that Ariel was rebellious and often tried to avoid her insulin shots or ate forbidden food while at school.

Some of McNett's testimony seemed to bolster that argument. McNett said Botzet told him it took a lot of persuading to get Ariel to see a doctor even three days before she died.

"[Ariel] was fighting going to the doctors Friday ... she didn't want to go," McNett recalled Botzet telling him during the interview.

Botzet also allegedly told McNett that her daughter did not appear sick until the night before she was taken to the hospital. But a diabetes specialist told jurors that was not possible.

"I think probably she [Ariel] was sick for a few days," Dr. Francine Kaufman said.

Throughout the trial, Sachs has attempted to establish that DKA is like a "lightning bolt" that can strike diabetics nearly anytime.

But Kaufman said DKA happens over days, not minutes.

"It's not like a flash," she said. "It's usually days. If not four, then three."

Kaufman also testified that, while lack of insulin is the most common cause of DKA, stress in the patient as well as the common flu could trigger the condition and eventually lead to a cerebral edema.

Prosecutors are expected to conclude their case Monday.

Court TV Extra is posting testimony from the trial on the Web.