When I had elective surgery a year and one-half ago and then when I had an emergency operation about six months ago, I told the hospital that I wanted them to provide me with a diabetes diet. Big mistake. They have no idea what a proper diabetes diet is.
At that time I had read the book by Richard K. Bernstein, M.D., Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution. But I hadn’t focused on his guide to hospitalization. You can be sure that if I have a chance, the next time a hospital tries to run my diabetes life, I will guide it with a letter to them like the one here.
This week he told me that I was free to reproduce that guide here. What happened was this.
One of the regular readers of my articles here sent me a copy of a letter that she had written protesting the awful treatment that she had received in a hospital in Wyoming and in another hospital in Colorado. She wanted to get the letter to Dr. Bernstein, who she and I both look to for guidance on controlling our diabetes.
When I passed on her letter to him, Dr. Bernstein was sympathetic. But he added that he gets even worse horror stories from other people who run into our American health care system.
“They all relate to the ignorance and lack of compassion of physicians and hospital personnel,” he said. “I asked my literary agent if we should transcribe them for a book. I was told that people don’t want to read depressing stories, and no publisher would be interested. If you think this kind of thing would serve a purpose on your blog, just post a request for stories about interactions with medical personnel and you’ll be overwhelmed.”
Then, in a follow-up message Dr. Bernstein added that, “I warn people about this in appendix B of my book. If you want to publish that appendix in your blog, you may.”
So here goes:
APPENDIX B Don’t Permit Hospitalization or Lengthy Outpatient Procedures to Impair Your Blood Sugar Control
If ever it is necessary for you to become a hospital patient almost anywhere in the world, the chances are overwhelming that no reasonable thought will be given to controlling your blood sugar. Most of the medical orthodoxy doesn’t do it anywhere else, so why should they do it in the hospital?
The reasons for such neglect, of course, are many: lack of blood sugar control skills on the part of most hospital medical staff; unawareness of the importance of normal or near-normal blood sugars in the face of illness or surgery; and an almost pathological fear of severe hypoglycemia (and the potential for lawsuits in the United States if it occurs). Many if not most hospital dietitians have been indoctrinated by the ADA, with the result that diabetic inpatients are forced to eat high-carbohydrate foods and are deprived of protein and fat. Some of my patients tell stories of having to sneak in their own insulin and blood sugar meter, throw out hospital food, and fight tooth and nail with well-meaning but uninformed hospital personnel.