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Diabetic Bodybuilder Sues Redwood City Police For Treatment When In Insulin Shock

Posted Oct 02 2008 3:12pm

A diabetic bodybuilder and Mr. Universe contest winner, who had a skirmish with police outside a Redwood City movie theater last year, has filed a lawsuit against the Redwood City police for excessive force, unreasonable seizure and violation of his civil rights.

The incident -- which I wrote about at the time -- involved a confused and belligerent Doug Burns, 44, a type 1 diabetic who was in dire neeed of food, about to go into a diabetic coma.

Officers arriving on the scene pepper-sprayed him, beat him in the ribcage with a baton and continued to strike him as he lay on the ground, according to a lawsuit he filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported

As I indicated last year, things began when a guard initially wrongly assumed that Burns was intoxicated (when he was going into insulin shock and was barely making it over to the snack bar). 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.

As the Chronicle's John Cote reports, "Burns' federal lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages, attorneys' fees and court orders requiring the Police Department to adopt `appropriate and lawful' policies on dealing with diabetic emergencies and to train officers on those procedures.

This is a very sad reflection on the state of our knowledge about diabetes in this country, isn't it?

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