Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Help Me Howard: Insulin Shot
A South Florida student who needs daily injections shot down by those expected to administer the medicine, but after calling Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser, the young boy is getting a dose of good news.
WSVN -- When we met Gianni he had a tooth trying to escape. A loose tooth is not a big deal to Gianni, which is understandable considering what he faces every day.
Carlos Palenzuela: "Does everything like a normal kid, which he is-- normal."
Carlos Palenzuela: "We treat him just like we treat his brother. He does everything just like his brother. The only thing he has got is an extra step of checking his sugar and taking insulin shots."
When Gianni was 3 he developed diabetes. Carlos gets teary eyed when he remembers that day.
Carlos Palenzuela: "Your world just collapses on you at that point."
That means the big guy has to prick his finger five or six times a day to test his blood sugar. Your body keeps your sugar between 80 and 120. Gianna's was 87, perfect, but if it gets above 300 or below 60 it's trouble.
Patrick Fraser: "How do you know when your blood sugar is getting low?"
Gianni: "I bounce around like crazy."
That's how Gianni's low blood sugar begins, and then...
Carlos Palenzuela: "If his blood sugar goes too high, he can go into a coma. If it goes too low, he can go into a coma."
Gianni is in the second grade at Coconut Palm Elementary School, where they remind him to check his blood sugar and give him an insulin shot if it's needed.
Carlos Palenzuela: "The school system itself does great."
Since Carlos and his wife work, they pay for Gianni to go to an after school program located inside his school. The program is run out of the school by a private company. Last year, when Gianni needed a insulin shot, they gave it to him. When school started this year they continued to give him shots. Then, in October...
Carlos Palenzuela: "This year, all of a sudden they called us up and said they were going to discontinue what they have been doing."
Meaning if Gianni's blood sugar is high, and he needs insulin, the after care program won't administer it. Broward offered to help.
Carlos Palenzuela: "The Broward School System was willing to train them, and they refused that training, and basically they told me that they don't want to take the responsibility of Gianni."
That frightens Carlos because those insulin shots are not optional.
Carlos Palenzuela: "This is serious. His life depends on it. Bottom line, it comes to my child won't be here if it weren't for insulin."
But can the taxpayer-funded after school program refuse to accept the training, and refuse to give a 7-year-old his insulin shots, Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "Legally, the Americans with Disabilities Act is very murky and unclear in this area, but the Broward School Board does care for insulin dependant kids in class, and, if you want to provide a service for them, you have to do the same."
When we spoke to Sunshine After Care, they told us they were not aware their staff was administering insulin to Gianni for the past year, and that their staff is not trained to do that. They added that the Federal Law does not require them to give insulin shots, and, for the safety of the child, injections are not administered.
Since Sunshine is under contract with the Broward School Board we contacted them. They told us Sunshine must follow school guidelines, that they accepted the child into the program, and, therefore, he has to be cared for.
That's good news for Gianni. Maybe in his lifetime they will even find a cure for diabetes. Hopefully it will come right after Ganni finally loses that tooth.
Patrick Fraser: "Why not have Gianni give himself an insulin shot? Well, insulin is a life-saver, but give yourself too much and it can kill you, way too much, responsibility for a 7-year-old. His only concern should be how much the tooth fairy is going to bring him when that tooth falls out."
Too many highs and lows got you off balance? Need someone to balance things out? Contact us. We won't needle, we give you a shot in the arm.
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