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[IP] Diabetes sufferer denied pre-schooling
<A HREF="http://www.theroyalgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Date=20020903&Category=NEWS&ArtNo=109030013&Ref=AR">Royal Gazette</A>
Diabetes sufferer denied pre-schooling
Shut out? Daniel McRonald hugs his mother Rachael Medeiros.
By Carla Zuill
A mother is upset her diabetes-afflicted four-year-old son may not be able to
attend pre-school in September because Government does not have anyone to
give him the constant supervision he needs to survive.
Daniel McRonald suffers from Juvenile Diabetes, also known as Type 1, which
is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the
insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, completely destroying them with
devastating effects. This causes the body to no longer produce insulin. It is
Approximately 100 Bermudians have this disease, 20 of which are children.
When he was 21 months old, Daniel was diagnosed with the disorder, much to
the surprise of his mother, Rachael Medeiros.
"One of my uncles has it," said the mother of three, "but I have more than
thirty first cousins and none of us suffers from diabetes."
According to Ms Mederios, dealing with Daniel's illness has not been an easy
feat. She described to The Royal Gazette how her son has suffered numerous
seizures and, during the first year of his diagnosis, he had to receive up to
five insulin injections a day.
"Every time his father and I had to inject him, it was awful," said Ms
Medeiros. "He would scream his head off. When I would bathe him, he would be
black and blue."
But all of that changed in May last year, when little Daniel became the
youngest recipient of insulin pump therapy through the Diabetes Centre at the
King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
Instead of relying on multiple injections to stabilise blood sugar levels,
the pump provides a steady flow of the hormone into Daniel's body via a
catheter in his buttocks.
"He is much happier now. Although his sugar levels still need to be
monitored, he basically has the freedom to eat whatever he wants," his mother
And like any other child his age, Daniel was excited about starting
pre-school on September 9. And so was his mum, until she received a called
from the Ministry of Health saying that the he may not be able to start
classes because no one is available to monitor her son's condition, which is
required in order for him to attend a Government school.
"I was devastated when I heard this," said Ms Medeiros. "They told me that
the woman who was set to begin with Daniel backed out at the last minute due
to personal circumstances."
Insistent that she is not angry with anyone in the inistries of Health or
Education, with Mwhom she has had several meetings with, Ms Medeiros said she
is still at her wit's end.
She said representatives from both Ministries have done all they can to
assist her but wondered what was going to happen.
"What am I supposed to do?" she pondered. "Are they going to advertise?"
Ms Medeiros, who took leave from her job in July in order to care for her son
on a full-time basis, said although she had planned to resume working in
September, she is willing to go to school with Daniel and monitor him until
someone is found.
"I'll still need at least another three weeks to train them on how to work
Daniel's monitor," she said.
Ms Mederios said she is desperate for Daniel to get a monitor so that he can
enjoy going to school - something she said he deserves.
"He needs to gain his independence. It's important for him to be with kids
his own age."
Officials from the Ministry of Health refuse to comment on Ms Mederios'
dilemma and Health Minster Nelson Bascome is on leave until September 16.
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