Category Archives: diabetes and the media

They Got it Right…Well Almost!

Last night I was channel surfing and came across a TV show that caught my interest.  The program had already been on for about twenty minutes but it had some actors in it that I liked so I thought I would take a peak. Within minutes my was really intrigued by the show, they were looking for a kidnapped girl who had diabetes! 

As the two police officers were headed out in hot pursuit of the alleged kidnapper, one turns to the other and states that “this could be really serious because the girl has diabetes.” The other officers says that she had “Type 1 diabetes and has to have her insulin before she goes into insulin shock.”  At that point I kind of went, huh?

Insulin shock is not a term that I use. I have heard it and was pretty sure it referred to a hypo. I continued to watch the show because I liked the fact that they were treating diabetes as a life threatening condition. When they found the girl and she was both very young and slim, I was even more excited.  As they wheeled her into the ambulance, the police officer yelled out that she had to have insulin right away.  I was left thinking, but they have to give her the right stuff. What sort of basal insulin is she on? Don’t give her NPH! I am such a mom of a pwd! 

At that point, I basically quit watching the show but was determined to look up the term “insulin shock” in the morning.  Could I really be out to lunch or did a well-meaning show totally screw up with two little words?

This morning as I was going through my emails, I came across an article about Doug Burns.  He is the former Mr. Universe who was arrested for being drunk in public and resisting arrest when in fact he was low and trying to get some regular pop (soda for my American friends) to bring him back up. I began to read about his suit against the police department and there were those two little words again– “insulin shock”.  The article began “Douglas Burns, 50, of Cupertino, was showing signs of insulin shock and needed medical attention on the night of April 1, 2007″. I knew that Mr. Burns had been low so I had to be right and insulin shock referred to having too much insulin in your body.

I still wanted to make sure so I did a quick Google search.  Sure enough Pub Med confirmed that insulin shock, hypoglycemia and low blood sugar levels were all the same thing. I was not going crazy. The media got it wrong again.  Darn!

They showed that diabetes was serious.  They stated that she had Type 1 diabetes rather than saying that she had “diabetes” or Type 2.  They used a young girl under 10.  They showed her sweating and a little out of it. They said she had to get insulin immediately or she was going to die.  The only part they had wrong was in saying so matter of factly that she would go into insulin shock because she had no insulin in her body. 

Once upon a time, this would create emails of outrage from many parents.  We would scream, yell and boycott the show.  I don’t hear much of that any more (may be I am not listening in the right places). Today, I don’t find myself as offended or as disappointed as I once may have been. I appreciate the effort. I am happy with the parts they got right. I hope that one day the media will get it all right but I am beginning to realize that mostly right is a decent place to start as well.