Parent Refuses Insulin for Teen with Type 1

shutterstock_253430857_nurse_insulin_needle_300pxThere is a disturbing report out of Ireland of a parent refusing to give her child insulin to treat Type 1 diabetes.

According to a story in the Irish Times, the High Court of Ireland has had to intervene in a medical dispute that took place in a Dublin hospital. On September 30, 2015, a 13-year-old girl was rushed to the hospital because of symptoms of untreated diabetes. Doctors weren’t able to administer insulin at the hospital because the mother had neither given her consent nor refused it. The move left doctors in legal limbo, and the teen’s life in the balance.

Read “Parents Who Withheld Insulin Guilty of First-Degree Murder.”

A pediatrician told the courts that the mother was waiting out the diabetes in hopes it would go away. She even declared that she would rather her child die at home than be given insulin. On October 2nd, the High Court (the final court of appeal in Ireland) overruled the mother, ordering insulin therapy for the girl.

This is not the only case of parents refusing Type 1 treatment for children. In May 2015, police in Australia opened an investigation into whether a 7-year-old child with Type 1 was taken off insulin and refused food before undergoing controversial alternative treatments that involved slapping and massage. The child died shortly after undergoing the treatment, according to an Australian news service.

Read “Death by Expired Insulin Prescription.”

And in 2008, two parents in Wisconsin chose to forgo insulin therapy for their 11-year-old daughter, opting only for prayer to treat her Type 1 diabetes; she died of diabetic ketoacidosis from untreated Type 1. Her parents were convicted of reckless homicide, and the conviction was upheld in 2013 by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, according to The Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel.

While such reports are thankfully rare, they underscore the need to combat misinformation found online about false cures for Type 1 diabetes. Common sense isn’t as common as we would like to think.

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

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