AskNadia: Denied Insulin for My 571 Blood Sugar When Arrested

I need some advice! I was denied insulin for over 9 hours with a blood sugar of 571!! I was told at 11:30 at night that the nurse was off until 8 the next morning. I am disabled both physically and mentally. I got so sick that I was having suicidal thoughts ! No one should have to go through what I went through! Who can help me with my case in Limestone county Alabama? Please advise!

Dear Russell:

What I say next is not intended in any way to excuse how you were treated. Word about how blood sugar, high or low, can affect people’s behavior doesn’t always get out. In big metro areas, many police departments have caught on or are catching on to asking suspects about their diabetes status.

But Limestone County is a rural county with only 83,000 people in it. The resources available to police and sheriffs there are very limited. The chances are great that law enforcement agencies in Limestone simply don’t know about how certain diabetic behaviors can mimic drunkenness or cause erratic movements.

I don’t know why you were arrested. If it was for something unrelated to erratic diabetes-induced behavior, that is something you have to deal with yourself.

But let’s say that diabetes had a role in your arrest. If so, I suggest you can take the following steps:

·         Download the above material on hypoglycemic/hyperglycemic diabetic behavior  and make it part of evidence that you can give the judge who will be presiding over your court appearance. Briefly and politely explain why you think your material is relevant to how you think the judge should rule. It may not be as persuasive as you hope, but you will have planted a seed.

·         After your case has been decided, write to the law enforcement agency that arrested you and offer the same material that you gave the judge. Your goal again is to plant a seed. Ask that all department employees receive a copy of your material. If Alabama allows non-medical professionals to administer insulin, you might suggest that a law enforcement agency keep syringes and bolus insulin on hand for emergency injections.

·         Do you have a bracelet, necklace, or tattoo that identifies you as a person with diabetes? If you have such ID, in your case it looks like nobody bothered to look. Otherwise I’d advise you to get some form of medical ID and make sure to display it if you are stopped again by law enforcement.

·         You might also consider carrying a small stash of insulin and a syringe on your person. If you are stopped by the police or sheriff, mention right away that you are diabetic and offer to show your insulin-syringe kit to the officer. In all cases—and this is important—closely follow the officer’s instructions for reaching and displaying your kit. Repeat his or her instructions to you as you reach for your kit. Constantly tell the officer what you are doing to make sure that you are following exact instructions to the letter.

I’ve linked to two sites where you can read about prominent cases involving law enforcement agencies and diabetics:

Officers of the Law Ignore Special Needs People With Diabetes – Mistreatment in Police Custody Lawsuit and FBI Investigation
Hyperglycemia and Police Arrests

I hope this helps you, Russell.


PS If you have a question or would like to share your story, write me directly. I look forward to reading and sharing your experience with diabetes.

See More from Nadia Al-Samarrie


Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professionals therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

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About Nadia:

Nadia is a diabetes advocate that was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and

with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.

Nadia has received 14 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.
 She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. Her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Lander’s advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News,, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.



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