A 9-1-1 dispatcher in Jefferson County has come up with a simple warning for medics and police that she thinks could save the lives of diabetics in need. It's a sticker that alerts rescuers to diabetics in a car, allowing them to look for immediately for symptoms of diabetes.
The need for it is best illustrated in police video from Nevada that was at the center of a lawsuit that ended earlier this month. Police pulled over a man they thought was drunk, and during the traffic stop, he appeared to resist arrest. It led to a shocking chain of events where cops were seen kicking and beating the man in the video. It turned out the man was in diabetic shock, one symptom of which can be seemingly belligerent behavior.
Tanya Moder saw those pictures. "I went, 'hmmf, there ya go.' It could prevent something like that.
She's referring to her simple decal design, stating, "Diabetic On Board," for any rescuer to read. She believes the awful incident in Nevada might never have happened had officers seen such a sticker.
"If they go into the situation knowing the person is a diabetic, instead of fighting the person off and getting all the help there they can immediately call a paramedic, and that can save minutes," Moder said.
Her motivation is personal on two fronts. As a 9-1-1 dispatcher she has heard of diabetics mistaken for drunk drivers. More notably, her daughter Brandi, 21, is desperately ill with Type 1 diabetes. The thought of her being stopped during an attack is mortifying.
"What if it had been my daughter? What if she couldn't talk because if you have really low or really high blood sugars you don't behave normally? Sometimes you get combative. Sometimes you go into a coma. Sometimes you have seizures."
She has already sold some of the decals to the Rock Township Ambulance District. She plans to donate half of the proceeds, and use the other half for Brandi. They're trying to raise money in the short term, for a diabetic alert dog which can actually smell when a patient's blood sugar spikes or falls.
In the longer term, Brandi's diabetes is so bad; they're hoping to get her a pancreatic transplant. The young woman's hope is to see her three year old daughter off to kindergarten in a couple of years.
Moder hopes the decals can help Brandi monetarily, and thousands like her through awareness.
For those interested in helping Brandi, there is a benefit dinner and mouse race on March 3 at St. Martin of Tours Hall at 610 West Ripa in St. Louis.
You can contact Tanya Moder for information on the dinner and the decals at (314)330-7506.
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