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Archive for the ‘diabetes’ Category

CA appeals court limits insulin injections in schools

Friday, June 11th, 2010

From the Sacramento BeeSan Francisco Chronicle, and the Central Valley [CA] Business Times:

The California Third District Court of Appeal has struck down a state regulation that had allowed trained school personnel — not just school nurses — to administer insulin shots to students with diabetes.

The 2007 regulation had been adopted after parents argued that a shortage of school nurses meant kids with diabetes were in jeopardy of being deprived of a free and appropriate public education unless parents were prepared to come to school throughout the school day to administer injections.

The regulation was challenged by organizations representing school nurses. The American Diabetes Association and California Department of Education argued for keeping the regulation.

Related story from KING5-TV, Seattle:  Nurse shortage pushes students with diabetes into one school; Parents cry foul

A Washington state school district has clustered medically fragile kids in one elementary school, claiming that the students would be served most safely and economically in one location. Most of the relocated students have diabetes.

Parents and advocates complain that consolidating nurses and relocating students with disabilities amounts to a violation of the children’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and has the effect of separating them from their peers.

“Really, this idea of segregating kids with diabetes isn’t sustainable,” said Scott Heinze, a board member with the American Diabetes Association. He says moving all medically fragile children to the same school sends the wrong message to kids with a manageable illness.

“This idea that we would take young people and segregate them because of the standard of care that they need to manage their disease essentially ostracizes these kids,” said Heinze.

Legal cases challenging similar practices have been launched in at least seven states.

Related posts here and here.

Geneticist: Demand for ‘designer babies’ will rise dramatically

Friday, January 8th, 2010

From the [UK] Times:

A leading geneticist writing in the journal Nature predicts a dramatic increase in parental demand for genetically screened “designer babies” over the next decade.

David Goldstein of Duke University expects to see many more couples screening embryos for genetic variations that substantially raise the risk of common conditions like diabetes, heart disease, autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy.

Embryo screening, which involves pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, is currently used to identify mutations that lead inevitably to serious disease, like cystic fibrosis. Wider use of the process could encourage fresh controversy over the ethics of designer babies, as it would involve screening out embryos that have an elevated risk of developing disease but are otherwise healthy.

In his Nature article, Goldstein called for a broad public debate about the ramifications of widespread genetic screening. “We should think about an appropriate dividing line,” he told the Times. “Most people are in favor of allowing this when a disease is severe, but are more uncomfortable with marginal disease risks. It’s something we are going to have to think hard about.”

Schools see more students with chronic health needs

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Congress considers adding school nurses

From the [Newark] Star-Ledger:

As more kids with more complicated health issues are attending mainstream public schools, school nurses are being called upon to provide care they once administered only in hospitals. A bill pending in Congress would offer grants to states to help pay for more school nurses.

Federal statistics say the number of students with chronic or acute health problems like leukemia, diabetes and asthma has doubled in recent years. “They’re actually managing more children with special needs, and we’re able to keep them in the school setting as a result of the school nurses,” said a doctor who serves 15 school districts in central New Jersey. “The kids have more complex medical issues. It’s not uncommon for kids to have feeding tubes, tracheostomies.”

Schools struggle to accommodate kids with diabetes

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

From USA Today:

As the number of school-age children with diabetes rises, experts say, tight budgets are forcing an increasing number of schools to do without full-time nurses. That can leave students without the medical support they need to maintain blood sugars at safe levels at school, and prompt parents to keep fragile kids out of class.

Parents say school officials are urging them to reroute their kids away from their home schools in search of nursing support. Ed Kraus, associate professor at Chicago Kent Law School, says it is discriminatory to reroute a child to another school, away from friends and siblings, because of a health condition.

VA plans to ease disability claims tied to Agent Orange

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

From the New York Times:

Forty years after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, the federal government has plans to make it easier for former veterans to get disability payments and health care for illnesses they say were caused by exposure to the toxic defoliant.

The shift underscores efforts by the secretary of veterans affairs, Eric Shinseki, a retired Army chief of staff and a Vietnam veteran himself, to reduce obstacles to sick or disabled veterans’ receiving benefits. The department has come under sharp criticism from Congress and veterans groups for long delays in processing disability claims.

“Since my confirmation as secretary, I’ve often asked why, 40 years after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, we’re still trying to determine the health consequences to our veterans who served in the combat theater,” Mr. Shinseki said in a statement. “Veterans who endure a host of health problems deserve timely decisions.”

It’s estimated that the policy change could prompt claims from 200,000 veterans.

Sotomayor expected to bring disability perspective to high court

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor, Associated Press photoBy David G. Savage and James Oliphant in the Los Angeles Times:

The historic confirmation Thursday of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the nation’s newest justice will bring new perspectives to the Supreme Court, and not just because she will be its first Latino.

… Her diabetes and daily insulin shots it requires were not much discussed during the hearings, but that experience is bound to influence her views, some lawyers say.

“She may be a strong voice for access to healthcare,” said Sylvia Lazos, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “She will be a real player in the debates over what is a disability.”

Advocates for those with disabilities have suffered some big defeats in the court in the last decade, and they have high hopes for Sotomayor. “We’re very excited. We don’t feel we have had a champion on the current court,” said Andrew Imparato, president of the American Assn. of People with Disabilities.

See also: Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation to Supreme Court is historic moment for people with disabilities — Press release from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Earlier posts here.

(AP photo)

Sotomayor hearing skips over one big question

Monday, July 20th, 2009

By Timothy M. Phelps in the Los Angeles Times ‘Top of the Ticket’ blog:

In all the questioning of Sonia Sotomayor, there was no discussion of one of the more interesting aspects of her nomination: She may be the first person named to the court in recent times with a known, serious chronic illness such as diabetes.

Phelps writes that Sotomayor’s longevity on the court could be limited in comparison to Republican appointees, even if she manages her condition well.

But other experts on the disease say it will be a valuable thing to have the perspective of such a person on the court. In 1999 the court decided that workers with treatable medical conditions, such as diabetes, were not disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore could be fired because of their medical problems. The decision provoked an outcry, and last year Congress changed the law to protect people like Sotomayor.

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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