Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tragic medical error for one little girl

I'm sure most people in the Diabetes world have heard THIS horrible news story about a little girl with Diabetes. I myself questioned the mom's conviction right away. Why you ask? Besides the fact that the medical staff, CPS and the reporter has NO IDEA how difficult it is to manage a child with Diabetes, the story stated that the little girl was always so happy and smiling, bubbly and energetic. If that was in fact true as reported, those words do not describe a child with out of control blood sugars. If this little girl was neglected by her mother as the story stated, she would not feel well. She would be sick often and she wouldn't be so smiley all the time. High blood sugar drains you, low blood sugar drains you. Swinging from highs to lows drains you. The story just didn't sound right to me.

Reading this article all I could do was cringe. I kept thinking how the news stories you hear are only half fact, half fiction, if that. I mentioned to our support group Moms the "What ifs" because we all know too well how Diabetes can turn life threatening in the blink of an eye. Dangerous blood sugars don't mean your child is neglected, out of control or that you don't know what you are doing as a parent managing the disease. Dangerous blood sugars can result from illness, stress, sudden change in insulin needs, wrong carbs counted, failed pump sites, too many things to list. What if this mom was trying her best? What if this little girl had the flu, a cold, strep throat, an infection....something that was making her SUDDENLY need ALOT more insulin? Maybe her mom was doing the BEST she could to keep up with her blood sugars? Maybe the mom was uneducated? That wouldn't necessarily mean neglect! What if? I hated this story right away. All I could imagine was me being in this moms situation and no one, not even the medical professionals understanding ""WHY"" this little girl was "out of control"......who are they to say when they don't live this chaotic life? The article NEVER should have stated such claims when they don't even know the child's documented medical history. Where were they getting their information?

I could picture some school nurses thinking some Diabetic kids are "out of control" know why? Because people that don't live this life think 80-120 is controlled. They think that hitting 200 is "out of control" or that we did something wrong to cause it. They think frequent lows are out of control. They have no idea. Nurses and Doctors learn from a text book, they can learn "standardize" management for children, but they really have no idea what we as parents go through to keep our children "controlled." They have no idea how often doses change, no idea what can effect blood sugars. I would stand beside ANY parent that manages their child before I ever would ever convict them of neglect.

Today when THIS article following up on the mothers conviction appeared, I can't explain how I felt. This could have been any of us parents with a Diabetic child. My understanding is that the Life flight crew gave too much Insulin in an IV drip to this little girl. Too much insulin, too fast can cause a rapid change in blood sugars. Too fast of a blood sugar drop can cause Cerebral edema, shock, coma or in this case, DEATH. WHY? Because all they knew (I assume) was to give insulin IV dosage as the "book" states. By weight of the child, by the extreme of the blood sugar, by the guidelines of DKA dosing instructions. The Life Flight crew wouldn't know this child's insulin sensitivity, (amount of insulin needed to lower blood sugar to target range)unless they asked the mother, or main person that manages the child's Diabetes. Insulin dosing is all a guessing game, it isn't a straight dose that equals the same result for everyone. 1unit that drops one child 70pts would drop Maddison 220 points, because she is Maddison. Individual to each person. Everything with Diabetes is individual to EACH person.

Assuming the overdose of IV insulin is what happened, I am devestated for this little girl and her family. She was 8 just like Maddison. Regardless of a dosage error or not, this could have happened anyway. Maybe it wasn't a medical error, maybe the circumstances and childs condition just couldn't be reversed. That happens alot with DKA, something else that people should know. This is exactly why us parents that have children with Diabetes can never let our guard down. This is exactly why Diabetes is a SERIOUS disease, every day. People out there need to understand this. It is heart breaking to think that maybe this mother was neglectful. Diabetes is an all time consuming Disease, you can't let the numbers slide. Diabetes for the child that has an uneducated or careless parent is devastating. That child will suffer, perhaps endlessly if not immediately.

Remember when Maddison had her bout with the stomach flu and ketones that sent us to the ER a few weeks back? This little girls tragic story could have been US. I could have been the mother blamed neglectful for whatever crazy reason. Maddison could have been this medical error. As I continually pleaded with the ER doctor to help me understand why they were sending Maddison home (with seriously high ketones) I really thought at that moment that the ER Doctor didn't know what they were doing. I needed them to explain to me WHY they were sure she would be okay. I have read the tragic stories too many times for children with Diabetes. I couldn't leave without feeling right with their decision. Thank goodness they were right.

We don't know the truth behind this news story. I can hope this little girl wasn't neglected. I hope she wasn't the victim of a medical error. I wish people understood this disease, I really do.

**note to self** I'm adding this comment to my own post realizing that in the 2nd article it states that the little girl was given Glucose instead of insulin which resulted in her death. Wow, that is a whole 'nother story! *****note to self, understand the article before you go off on a wild blog post, LOL!!***


Becky said...

We are of the same mind here! Our children are just way to delicate to assume that every D related death is the fault of the parent. And we forget what this family is going through, then to throw a conviction on top of just breaks my heart.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Very scary. Very.