An expired insulin prescription leaves a 36-year old diabetic man dead. When he went to the pharmacy the pharmacist told him that he had an expired insulin prescription. In order to get the insulin he would have to contact his doctor for a new prescription. He attempted to contact his doctor three times to get a new prescription but his doctor did not return his phone calls in time. Four days after he tried to fill the expired insulin prescription he went into a diabetic coma and passed away.
This tragedy should have never happened. A Type 1 diabetic that requires insulin to survive should never have to worry about an expired insulin prescription. Type 1 diabetics should be given a lifelong prescription for insulin that never expires. better yet, people with Type 1 diabetes should not have to have a prescription to purchase insulin. There will never be a day that this man would not need insulin and he should never be denied access to insulin.
There were several people that could have prevented this tragedy. The pharmacist could have told the patient about emergency insulin programs or contacted the patients doctor on his behalf. The doctor should have called the patient back within 24 hours of receiving his first phone call. There is no excuse for the lack of support from the healthcare professionals involved in this case.
The family is currently working on spreading the news about emergency insulin programs that can help a diabetic get insulin if they are unable to attain it themselves. Programs like these help diabetics get insulin if they cannot get a prescription, cannot pay the copay, or do not have insurance. There are also diabetic communities in which members would happily loan insulin to a fellow diabetic.
This tragic event highlights the failure of our healthcare system. Bottom line: a person with Type 1 diabetes should never be denied insulin.