Thursday, July 16, 2015

Faith and Medication

I'll start by saying this: faith is a GOOD thing. So please don't misunderstand my intentions.
However, with faith, one also needs to have some common sense.
I saw a woman the other day in the ICU. Presented with florid diabetic ketoacidosis, sick like stink and was intubated for airway protection. She was pretty acidotic, with her gap being 27.
She had type 1 diabetes, diagnosed in childhood for which she took insulin for survival. Very devoted mother and she homeschools her 7 kids. She was also very devout in her religion. And so, unclear to me why, after a period of very intense prayer and meditation, she was convinced God has cured her of her disease. Somehow resurrected the long-apoptosed pancreatic islets, and that she was again capable of producing endogenous insulin.
And so, she stopped her life-sustaining medication. And stopped testing her blood glucose.
It didn't take her long to go into DKA.
Remember, kids- you cannot control sugars by eating less alone- in insulin-deficient individuals, survival without insulin, even when one is fasting, is not possible. It's 2nd year physiology.
It's the 2nd case of DKA induced by religious fervor that I've seen here.
With the excellent care she is receiving in the ICU, I'm optimistic she will recover. And we'll have to reinforce that she will need to stay on insulin for life (unless she chooses to have a pancreas transplant).
However, it's important to remember that while faith is important, it's also important not to disregard medical advice.

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