What We’re Reading: Diabetes Mess-ups In The Media

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For many people without diabetes, knowledge of the condition doesn’t extend far beyond an awareness that it has something to do with levels of sugar in the blood. Aspects of self-care that may be routine to someone who has diabetes, such as checking one’s blood glucose level or using an insulin pump, can be completely alien to people who are unfamiliar with it, including members of the media.

This was highlighted in a recent article in The New York Times. In the piece “For Uninsured Young Adults, Do-It-Yourself Healthcare,” about the measures taken by young people lacking health insurance, the following passage appears:

“When Robert Voris last had health insurance, in 2007, he stockpiled insulin pumps, which are inserted under the skin to constantly monitor blood-sugar levels and administer the drug accordingly. He said the tubing for the pump costs $900 a month, so lately he has instead been injecting insulin with a syringe.”

Need we say more?

And The New York Times is not the only news media outlet that has published misinformation about insulin pumps. A recent piece in The Mercury News of San Jose made the assertion that “Many diabetic children use an insulin pump, which automatically releases the right amount of insulin.”

Have you come across similar examples of inaccurate information about diabetes or diabetes management in the media? What do you think is the best way to educate mainstream journalists about diabetes to ensure that accurate information is shared with the public? Let us know with a comment below.

This blog entry was written by Diane Fennell, Associate Editor of Diabetes Self-Management magazine.

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