Dear Med Students. And Nursing Students.
Dear Nurses. And EMTs. And Paramedics.
I'd like to introduce you to Addie.
I'm quite sure her bright smile and big blue eyes will reach inside soul and melt your candy heart...
Addie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on August 12, 2011.
She was 4 years old.
She died on August 18, 2011.
Addie did not survive her diagnosis.
I wish I could say that Addie's story is rare, but it happens far more often than people might think. This study suggests that about 1/3 of people who died from complications of Diabetic Ketoacidocis (over a six year period in Maryland) had not previously been diagnosed with diabetes.
In the past few days, I learned of two more children lost....and countless others since my own daughter was diagnosed in 2005.
Why does this happen?
I don't know...but I do know that many of these families sought medical attention and were told their child had "a virus" or "the flu". In other words, many of these deaths could have been prevented - if only someone had screened them in time.
A simple finger poke and/or urine dip upon presentation -- as in...right off the bat, stat, pronto. TYPE 1 DIABETES RULED OUT IMMEDIATELY -- that's all it would have taken.
Am I suggesting that people be screened whenever they seek help for any (or all) of the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes, no matter how vague they may seem?
• Thirst (dehydration)• Frequent urination • Blurry vision• Stomach pain • Increased hunger • Nausea • Drowsiness, lethargy, exhaustion • Confusion • Sweating • Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath • Vomiting • Inability to concentrate • Weight lossYes. I am.
Does it sound absurd to screen every person who complains of vomiting or generally feeling more tired than usual?
I don't really care.
I feel it's absurd that people continue to DIE because they aren't being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in time.
No matter who you are...LEARN THE SYMPTOMS, and insist on a screening if you notice them...PERIOD.
A couple months before my daughter was diagnosed, she was seen in an ER for vomiting. She had no fever, and her fasting venous glucose level was 128mg/dL. (Which is actually diagnostic according to the American Diabetes Association 2013 Standards of Care.) I mentioned to the ER doctor that her BG seemed a bit high to me, and was told it was a normal number that shouldn't concern me.
Three weeks before my daughter was diagnosed, I discussed her symptoms (frequent urination/excessive thirst) at her 2 year well visit. The doctor told me there didn't seem to be anything that warranted further investigation.
The day before her diagnosis, my husband described my daughter's symptoms and voiced concern with a second pediatrician in the practice. She told him we should watch her through the night, and have her seen the next day if she didn't improve.
On July 25, 2005 my daughter was flown to a PICU, semi-conscious in DKA, with cerebral edema.
We were merely a few hours away from the same devastating outcome, and there had been at least three opportunities to address the situation before things got as bad as they were.