Thank you! I just became aware of your article in the Times on Nov. 30 in which columnist Daniel Borenstein so eloquently explained the conundrum of diabetes care in California's public schools.
I am a diabetes parent and advocate who has been extremely vocal within the diabetes community about this issue. The recent ruling in California Superior Court is a tremendous setback for children with diabetes and their families.
These families are experiencing horrendous hardships as a result of the nurses' push-back. In the last several months, I have heard from parents representing over 50 different school districts, all of which have failed in some way to meet their federal obligations to students with a disability. The stories are heartbreaking ... each and every one of them.
That nurses are using children with diabetes as pawns in a brokered game of politics is shameful. These organizations promote themselves as "experts" in diabetes care, yet family after family is able to share instances that clearly demonstrate these nurses have a very poor grasp of current best practices of care, let alone their obligations under federal laws.
The average age of a school nurse is 50-plus, many of whom have had little if any ongoing education about diabetes care. Many nurses hold the view that children with diabetes are "sick," and have yet to embrace the modern approach that a diabetes diagnosis does not define the child. Nurses routinely express fear of insulin pumps, insulin and glucagon — all commonplace "tools of the trade" in type 1 diabetes management.
How the nurses feel comfortable to call themselves "experts" I will never know.
Again, thank you for your articulate and accurate depiction of the problems faced by children with diabetes. These are some of our most voiceless citizens whose rights deserve protection through innovative solutions. Training unlicensed school personnel is exactly that solution. It is an idea whose time has come.
Shenson is a diabetes parent and advocate.