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Are The Legal Authorities Coherent? How Can They Charge A Diabetic Bodybuilder In Insulin Shock With Assaulting Police & Res

Posted Dec 18 2008 8:10pm

Diabetics and hypoglycemics, beware! Ignorant legal officials can make your life rough for you! Just learn about this incident with the police involving the reigning Mr. Natural Universe, Doug Burns, a type 1 diabetic, who's been active with Children With Diabetes, where he's seen below, reportedly impressing tweens with "his strength and character."

Art_dougburnstweens800_2 The diabetic body-builder -- who often speaks publicly about his disease and sits on the board member of the Silicon Valley American Diabetes Association -- was formally charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest in skirmish last Sunday outside a movie theater, despite assertions by the athlete that he was in insulin shock.

Let me explain. According to this revealing account and another from Michelle Durand of the San Mateo Daily Journal, last Sunday, Burns, 43, of Redwood City, drew the suspicions of a security guard at a local movie theater.

The guard first wrongly assumed that Burns was intoxicated (when he was going into insulin shock and was barely making it over to the snack bar); then when the guard asked Burns to leave and the almost-in-shock athlete refused, the guard called police.

Apparently, all Burns needed was some food -- and quickly. The athlete was reportedly switching to a new diabetes drug and was feeling dizzy and having poor vision so deperately needed to get his glucose levels up.

Next, Durand reports, when Redwood City police officers arrived on the scene, the were met (so they claim) with a combative man assuming a fighting stance. So they sprayed him with Mace and four officers allegedly wrestled him to the ground. 

Now, as Durand explains, despite on-the-scene blood tests showing he Burns was, in fact, suffering from low blood sugar, the athlete is facing two misdeamor charges, which can carry up to a year in jail or probation. He is to be arraigned May 2.

Although the misunderstanding has been cleared up, the charges stand. Frankly, I think it's outrageous that the diabetic athlete is facing such legal woes!

The low blood sugar results prove that Burns was suffering a medical emergency. What's more, when you're in a diabetic state of insulin shock, you're not coherent and you shouldn't be judged as such.

Burns should be given compassion, not misdeamor changes. (Of course, I cannot help but wonder what the heck his Medical Alert ID bracelet was doing in his pocket instead of on his wrist. If he'd worn it, perhaps this all legal mess could have been avoided.)

Anyhow, Burns told his story to reporters for CBS13.com and CBS5.com. (Watch the intriguing news stories by following those links.)

This unnecessary incident also brings to light the fact that, as diabetes is on the rise -- with nearly 20 million Americans having this dangerous disease -- security guards, police officers, firemen, restaurant workers, public transportation personnel and the rest of us need to be properly trained so that we recognize symptoms of insulin shock. Folks also should learn about low blood sugar and how it faces millions of hypglycemics, too, not just diabetics.

To bring you up to speed, some signs of low blood sugar are, according to Medline:

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