Since the news broke that a Dallas mother has been criminally charged with neglect in the death of her diabetic daughter, I have been grappling with the issue. I am the mother of a diabetic.
To recap, the mom has been investigated several times over the child’s nine years for everything from leaving her unattended in a car to having no food in the house to leaving it up to her little sister to administer insulin injections. Her final moments were spent eating cupcakes and candy. All she needed was insulin to stay alive. Even a child who "cheats" with sweets can be kept healthy with a matching dose of insulin. Sugar-measuring glucometers are tiny and easy to use. There is no reason for Chasity Butler to be dead at age nine.
After the jump, why it has taken every ounce of intellect and effort I have to care for my diabetic.
We could never have done it without a spectacular doctor, Ernie Fernandez, and a commitment to devour every bit of information we could find. (Shout out to the moms of diabetics who invited me to join their lunch group and equipped me with all their tricks and tips.)
But hearing the CPS and hospital personnel second-guessing the little girl’s care was upsetting. It appears that this mother exerted very little effort to treat this child, but who among us would be found blameless if our every move was scrutinized? I can admit I’ve made parenting mistakes over the years. I’ve also had to fight with medical personnel whose inflexible ideas about treatment differed from my own.
It must be frustrating to be a nurse or doctor and prescribe care for a child with a serious medical condition, knowing the parent is not listening or following directions. Apparently, this mom skipped her diabetes training session. I recorded and transcribed mine. One year, Dr. Fernandez, who runs Camp Sweeney for diabetic children, asked me to drive home a little girl who had minimal family support. She attended the summer camp on scholarship (it’s expensive, since everyone from the soccer coach to the guy who plays guitar around the campfire has extensive medical training). When she and my child sat down to eat and take their shots, her dose was four times higher because continued lack of care left her body unable to cope. I wonder how she is today.
I don’t know the answer when parents can’t or won’t care for their children. I just wish those who now examine with perfect vision had been as influential early in the game.