1. #1
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    Diabetic mistaken for drunk

    http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/17533450/detail.html

    FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. -- Dearborn and Allen Park police are accused of mistaking a diabetic man for a drunken driver and beating him to the point that he required surgery to remove part of his brain, according to a lawsuit filed by an attorney representing the man’s wife.

    Pamela Griglen, 46, and her attorney Arnold Reed on Monday filed a federal lawsuit asking for $20 million in damages.

    Reed said Ernest Griglen was driving southbound on the Southfield Freeway on June 15 when he suffered a diabetic hypoglycemic episode that caused him to swerve between lanes.

    Ernest was pulled over by Allen Park and Dearborn police who thought he was drunk and beat him in the head and face, Reed said.

    “They began to hit him, punch him and throw him to the ground,” Reed said.

    Ernest’s wife said her husband told her, “They beat me, Pam. They really beat me.”

    However, two police reports offer differing details of the incident.

    In one police report, Breathalyzer results listed prove Ernest was not drunk, but states police were chasing Ernest because of a domestic violence complaint. The report states he was pulled over after a short chase on the Southfield Freeway near Ford Road.

    The other report states Ernest was “combative” and that officers were force to put him on the ground. The only injury listed on the report is that some blood was noticed to be trickling down Ernest’s nose.

    But Reed said Ernest was taken to Oakwood Hospital where emergency brain surgery was performed that removed a part of Ernest’s brain. Reed added that the man has not been awake and has been on a ventilator since the incident, and he presented photographs to prove the man's condition.

    Reed maintains Ernest had an insulin pump inserted in his stomach and that officers should have taken it as a sign to the truth behind Ernest’s behavior.

    Ernest was also wearing a medical boot because he had just had an operation on his ankle.

    Reed said although there is not police dashcam video of the incident, he does have witnesses who will be brought to court.

    The director of public information for the city of Dearborn said the city has not yet been served with the lawsuit and would need to investigate the allegations in a responsible manner before commenting on the situation. She said the city’s best wishes go out to the family while they are dealing with such a serious medical condition.

    The Allen Park police declined comment.
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    I used to run into this fairly often when I was an EMT. The behavior is almost identical. Had many an officer request medical when they realized the person was not intox.
    Last edited by safetyallday; 09-23-2008 at 05:19 PM.
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    It is something we worry about a bit due to hubby being diabetic. (Not the whole getting beaten up, but being mistaken for public intoxication.)
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    It would be a good idea to wear a medical id bracelet to help officers and medical folks assess ones condition.
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    it seems to me that if he was able to supply a sufficient sample on the intoxilyzer then he was either no beaten that badly or he could have told them what was going on, unless they drew blood. in any case heres another example of not knowing all the details.
    In god i trust everyone else gets run on NCIC

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    Quote Originally Posted by safetyallday View Post
    It would be a good idea to wear a medical id bracelet to help officers and medical folks assess ones condition.
    That works in theory, but some people are allergic to metal. (Such as me. I'm allergic to latex and can't wear a medic-alert bracelet or necklace because I'm also allergic to metal.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Hoppes View Post
    That works in theory, but some people are allergic to metal. (Such as me. I'm allergic to latex and can't wear a medic-alert bracelet or necklace because I'm also allergic to metal.)
    THAT explains the babies! Kidding Mrs. Hoppes, it's just one of those things that I couldn't pass up on... and for the record I think you have wonderful children

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    Quote Originally Posted by safetyallday View Post
    It would be a good idea to wear a medical id bracelet to help officers and medical folks assess ones condition.
    A responsible person with unmanaged or improperly managed diabetes absolutely should do this. At the very least, they should carry a wallet card.

    I'm not advocating starting EMS every time an officer picks up a DWI or a drunk & disorderly. In many regions, a basic EMT can now do finger-stick blood sugar readings in the field.

    If I get called to the scene of a DUI crash and a patient presents with an altered mental status, I can and will check their blood sugar. If I get called for a person who is unconscious "over the wheel" or laying on the side of the road, I can and will check their blood sugar.

    It's not exclusively a paramedic-level skill anymore, and it certainly doesn't need to be done in a hospital.

    Of course, I'm not going to give an officer crap for doing his or her job. You do what you need to do. If there's a thought in the back of your mind that this person MAY be a diabetic, I'd be more than happy to come take a look at him. In the end, it could end up reducing a liability for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hxd View Post
    A responsible person with unmanaged or improperly managed diabetes absolutely should do this. At the very least, they should carry a wallet card.

    I'm not advocating starting EMS every time an officer picks up a DWI or a drunk & disorderly. In many regions, a basic EMT can now do finger-stick blood sugar readings in the field.

    If I get called to the scene of a DUI crash and a patient presents with an altered mental status, I can and will check their blood sugar. If I get called for a person who is unconscious "over the wheel" or laying on the side of the road, I can and will check their blood sugar.

    It's not exclusively a paramedic-level skill anymore, and it certainly doesn't need to be done in a hospital.

    Of course, I'm not going to give an officer crap for doing his or her job. You do what you need to do. If there's a thought in the back of your mind that this person MAY be a diabetic, I'd be more than happy to come take a look at him. In the end, it could end up reducing a liability for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Hoppes View Post
    That works in theory, but some people are allergic to metal. (Such as me. I'm allergic to latex and can't wear a medic-alert bracelet or necklace because I'm also allergic to metal.)
    How about a stainless steel plate attached to a nylon sport band? Something like this perhaps: http://www.universalmedicalid.com/mk...did=1050384479

    Or you could also consider a Road ID like a lot of runners use. www.roadid.com
    Last edited by hxd; 09-23-2008 at 06:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jb5722 View Post
    smell their breath, if it smells like juicy fruit (the gum) they're diabetic, if it smells like booze, i think you know the rest.
    Careful with over-simplifying that one. The fruity breath indicates too much sugar in the blood or a lack of insulin, which will lead to diabetic coma. While serious, this is actually the less urgent diabetic condition. The real screaming emergency is insulin shock, which results from an overabundance of insulin and TOO LITTLE sugar in the blood. Insulin shock has a rapid onset, quickly produces altered mental state and behavior which can include combativeness, and DOES NOT include the fruity breath smell. Untreated, insulin shock can quickly lead to death, especially if the subject has just exerted more energy from fighting you (which causes the body's cells to consume even more sugar).

    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteGould View Post
    Careful with over-simplifying that one. The fruity breath indicates too much sugar in the blood or a lack of insulin, which will lead to diabetic coma. While serious, this is actually the less urgent diabetic condition. The real screaming emergency is insulin shock, which results from an overabundance of insulin and TOO LITTLE sugar in the blood. Insulin shock has a rapid onset, quickly produces altered mental state and behavior which can include combativeness, and DOES NOT include the fruity breath smell. Untreated, insulin shock can quickly lead to death, especially if the subject has just exerted more energy from fighting you (which causes the body's cells to consume even more sugar).

    Pete
    Hi Pete,

    I agree with most of this. Any blood sugar extreme can produce combativeness or coma. I've more than once had to carefully subdue a diabetic person whose blood sugar was high, and have more than once revived a comatose diabetic person by administration of sugars. Diabetic coma is a symptom set that has more than one possible cause. Either low or high blood sugar can result in coma. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dia...SECTION=causes

    Regards,

    Monty

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monty Ealerman View Post
    Hi Pete,

    I agree with most of this. Any blood sugar extreme can produce combativeness or coma. I've more than once had to carefully subdue a diabetic person whose blood sugar was high, and have more than once revived a comatose diabetic person by administration of sugars. Diabetic coma is a symptom set that has more than one possible cause. Either low or high blood sugar can result in coma. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dia...SECTION=causes

    Regards,

    Monty

    Or better yet you get a drunk diabetic! I have had this on an occasion or two as well. Since 1/3 of my agency is licensed EMTs, we can address the situation better than most LE agencies in my state. A fellow DUI Instructor of mine has a great video of a hypoglycemic driver that fails to pull over for police. It's a wonder she did not drive through a building. The video is amazing, but after the officers got her stopped (via a moving roadblock) and pulled her from the vehicle, it was evident that her altered mental status lead them to believe it was not necessarily drug/alcohol impairment that caused her to drive the way she did.

    Although both drunks and diabetics can exhibit similar symptoms, and even the acetone smell in some instances, I think most officers should be able to tell that something just isn't right concerning the individual.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Hoppes View Post
    It is something we worry about a bit due to hubby being diabetic. (Not the whole getting beaten up, but being mistaken for public intoxication.)
    We had a pretty bad fatal accident caused by a diabetic going into insulin shock.

    There is more to be concerned about then being mistaken for drunk...they can cause the same accidents as drunks.
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    This is a common problem. I encountered it myself. Fortunately, the diabetic was alert enough to warn us of what was going to happen, so we got 4 officers to gently wrestle him to the ground and rush him to the hospital down the street. His family was watching the whole time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monty Ealerman View Post
    I agree with most of this. Any blood sugar extreme can produce combativeness or coma.
    Agreed. I was just concerned at what seemed like the generalized implication that if you don't smell acetone it's not diabetic-related. I'm guessing that's not really what the OP meant, but that's what seemed to come across.

    Pete

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    Hi,

    Let's all just agree with one another. Can you pass me another glass of ketosis? Right on, Pete.

    Regards,

    Monty

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    Yea diabetics with altered levels of consciousness can act almost identical to a drunk
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    My brother in law had this problem, he had one incident where he became combative and the police thought he was drunk until they saw his tag. He was an EMT and even fought with his best friend who came with the unit to take him to the hospital.

    He also had another episode where he passed out at the wheel and coasted to a stop and the police were sure he was on drugs, and impounded the car when they found some of his medication.
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    Seems to be a lot more sympathy on this thread than the one I started earlier.

    http://forums.officer.com/forums/sho...light=diabetic

    Speaking of those who have medical emergencies that affect driving in a dangerous way, is that cause for license suspension? My friend had some sort of seizure and had an accident. When he got to the hospital, the nurse told him that they would have to immediately suspend his license, because the accident was caused by a medical emergency and not drugs/alcohol(apparently DUI suspects keep their license for up to 30 days??)

    I know already epilectics cannot drive because the onset of symptoms occurs so quickly they would be a danger. Is this true for other types of medical conditions like diabetes?

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