November 5, 2010

Emergency Hospitalization for People with Diabetes

Another hospitalization situation that can cause problems for people with diabetes is going into the hospital alone in an emergency situation and no medical alert identification. A case in an emergency room about 65 miles from here this summer really emphasized what can go wrong. These are the type of instances that get my feelings in an uproar when they should not have happened.

The person had collapsed and passed out from heat exhaustion (I'm guessing heat stroke). He was transported to the hospital with an IV in place per orders of the emergency room doctor. When they arrived at the hospital no alert identification was found so the IV was continued and a second one added and and then his billfold was opened. An emergency telephone number was found and called.

The person arrived at the hospital and went to the room where he had been admitted. This person was not aware he had diabetes so could give no insight into treatment or who the doctor was. So the IV's continued. The fellow did not come out of the heat exhaustion, so no changes were made. They did stop the IV's after the fifth one. On the second day the fellow still had not come around, but the emergency person had contacted an older brother, who arrived. Even he did not know about the diabetes, but knew of the doctor his brother was seeing.

Contact was made with the doctor then and it was discovered that he had diabetes Type 1. At that point they did a blood glucose test and if I understood correctly it was “HI”, so they had to do a test from a blood draw. This showed over 900 and I was not given a more accurate figure. Of course they administered insulin. Then they started testing every hour and administering more insulin every five hours. They also continued to test him regularly.

They continued monitoring him and on the fourth day he came to. When the nurse told me about the following, I nearly fell off the chair. The patient said nothing about having diabetes and asked for a Pepsi to drink. When he was told no, he got abusive, and asked for food. When he was told after his insulin, he went ballistic and refused to be treated. The fifth day he checked himself out against doctors wishes.

I don't understand totally what happened as I was not able to get more information. I do not understand why this person did not want to have diabetes identified and when it was, why he reacted this way. I know from the diabetes forums that some people will come out on them, but will not say anything to people near to them or wear a medical alert of any kind.

I can understand privacy, but not the extreme desire for it. He should be thankful that an older brother did know the doctor and that the doctor gave out the information. There are lots of unanswered questions about this, but the nurse would not identify anyone and only gave me a little that she could.

I think she was wanting me to see how important it was to have proper medical alert information on me. When I showed her mine, she asked to see it and thanked me for wearing it. I wear mine on a necklace and need to have it updated for sleep apnea which is not on it presently.

This is why I feel so strongly about educating close friends and family so that they can advocate for you and prevent these types of instances from occurring. And in this case, the person on the emergency notice did not have information. This is not what should have happened.


Gran said...

I'm wondering if this person wanted to die. How very sad.

Bob Fenton said...

It is situations like this that really make me wonder. I even have a neighbor that got angry when I guessed he had diabetes. Some guys just don't like people knowing.

Gran said...

I just don't get it, Bob.

Pine said...

I can relate to the situation because for years I walk around not saying anything about Diabetes. Somewhere in the back of my mind(?) I believe it was a sign of weakness and by ignoring it, it will go away.
How STUPID can you get?