Misinformation in First Aid Instructors

I spent all of yesterday in a St John Ambulance First Aid course.. and well it was VERY informative.

At the bit when they talked about Medical Conditions, of course diabetes came up as being one of the main ones.

The instructor basically told the whole class that diabetes was caused by making your bloodsugars do constant rollercoasters with food eaten.  OK maybe this is what happens with T2 diabetics but why generalise and put us all into a category. 

ALSO she said there were 2 types of diabetics:

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I then told her that I can be both in a matter of a couple hours! and she looked at me like I was crazy?

Then she said.. when dealing with a diabetic, whether you know they're high or low, you should give them juice.  I understand that for a first-aider that would be simple enough to understand and it would help IF in a low... but I also told her that if I was given juice while severely in DKA or some kind of high, I would be upset.. but then again hopefully they would be calling 911 at that time.. AND not alot of people would deal with us on a first-aider basis if we were high.

I was peaved.  To say the least...No wonder people are stupid about diabetes when they're being taught THIS in First Aid.

Just venting :)

wow really? when i did my first aid training for ushering(i've taken it before but i needed it renewed/refreshed), the St. John's instructor actually knew her stuff pretty well. When I raised my hand and corrected her on one minor thing(I don't remember what it was now but it was something super unimportant really) and said I was a T1 for 15years, she actually turned that sector of instructing over to me and asked me what they, the ushers, should do if they come across a diabetic in this or that situation, whether at the theatre or our in the public.


You'd think the instructor would be better informed eh? That's a little..concerning, to say the least!

Hi Andree,

Something very similar happened to me in the mid to late 90's when i was in a first aid training class. I think the people teaching it get like a mini once over on the disease, and the majority of that probably focuses on T2.

Here is a story for you; I went to a regular medical doctor to get an endo referral. The very first thing I asked her was if she was familiar with an insulin pump, and she said yes. After asking me a few questions she basically started yelling at me, and said I was irresponsible because I do not take cholesterol medicine, and because I did not take pills for my sugars(I have no cholesterol problems). I told her I was type 1 and on an insulin pump, and she said that "insulin will only make you worse". She also kept insisting I have  anorexia (which i don't).  She was the most misinformed doctor I have ever seen. I filed a complaint and never went back to that clinic. Sadly though she isn't the only M.D. like that though...as you already know ;)


I had a similar situation during a mandatory first aid training for a job a while ago. The instructor said that all diabetics should carry around an emergency medication for if they get really *high*. If they don't, he said, they deserve the consequences. Um, does he mean Glucagon for if we get really *low*?? Did he mean insulin, but what if you're T2 and not on insulin? Huh???

Also, as T2's are less likely to be on insulin, and therefore not as likely to pass out from a low BS, shouldn't these people be more informed re: T1?? Makes you wonder what else they got wrong that you didn't know enough about to notice, huh!

Happy Vegan -- I once saw an allergist (at a top hospital in Boston) about the hives I get from my insulin injections. He suggested stopping insulin to solve the problem. I said, but I'm T1. He said, Could you take less? My endo got a good laugh about that one when she got his report! Sigh ... what if I was just diagnosed and followed his instructions?

[quote user="Sarah"]


what if I was just diagnosed and followed his instructions?


Hi Sarah,

That was my point too, when I called and made a complaint. If I had no knowledge of T1 I may have listened to this "doctor". Scary stuff.

I haven't had this experience with a first aid class but I have had it with some doctors! I have moved many times and my worst nightmare when it comes to moving is finding a new doctor. It has happened a few times where I go to a doc and she or he does not know anything about my blood work or sugars (since I am still new) and the doctor raises my Lantus to a ridiculous amount.

The last time I went to the doctor, my blood sugars were just were they needed to be but still, this doctor tried to tell me that I needed more lantus and instead of going up 2 units or so, she went up 8 units. I told her that if I put on that much lantus I would get so low that I would have a serious emergency and she didn't listen to me. This drove me nuts! Thank goodness I know enough about my body to regulate my insulin pretty good (i have had T1 for 19 years) but imagine if it was a newly diagnosed person? what a disaster!

This happened to me when I still lived in florida. Now I live in Kentucky and still have not found a good doc. :( i will keep looking...wish me luck!

Quite an interesting question, Isaac!  I probably should not be replying as I don't fall into the category, being the only one of four children in my family to be a T1D.  I am hoping that the fact of sharing this diagnosis with someone so close to you is helpful - you guys can share experiences, questions, worries...  all that fun stuff that guys love to talk about!  LOL

I also have a sibling with T1. My younger sister was diagnosed when she was 5 (over Easter weekend - poor her :( ) and I was diagnosed nearly 10 years later, a month before my 18th birthday (and 3 weeks before Christmas). Our youngest sister (now 14) is not diabetic though *fingers crossed it stays that way* :)

Kaitlin, your youngest sister must get a little nervous at times about the situation.  I'm sure she is always aware of any signs or symptoms that could lead to T1D...  I'll keep my fingers crossed for her as well!

haha read the post wrong...ignore me :)

I got mine when I was 5. 1981. My older brother got T1 when he was 15. My mother, remarkably, has managed to survive both rounds.

I hope that those who do have T1 siblings fare better than I did. Please be there for each other. It's rough going otherwise.

My sister and I both have T1. She was dx when she was 5 (now is 21), and I was dx when I was 19. I think having a T1 sibling helped me know how to deal with the disease because I had all of 12 years to see what she did and learn about what to do...and what not to do :P

Although now we won't really talk about it because we have different styles of doing things...I like to think my style is better since my A1C has been better than her's ever since my diagnosis :), but with her having been T1 for almost 17 years now she doesn't want to hear any "suggestions" from me or take any advice. I am there for her if she needs it though and she knows that so I guess that will have to do since we both live in different states and don't get to see each other often now.

This isn't exactly what you were asking but it does relate.

We met a guy from the JDRF last night that has 2 1st cousins have T1. In other words 3 brothers all first borns have T1. Just seemed courious.

No matter how I typed it, it came out confusing to me. So I appoligize now if it is not clear.

[quote user="Nads"]

Kaitlin, your youngest sister must get a little nervous at times about the situation.  I'm sure she is always aware of any signs or symptoms that could lead to T1D...  I'll keep my fingers crossed for her as well!



Yeah, I think she was was pretty upset when I was diagnosed, gives her a lot more reason to worry I guess. And to get her worried anytime she gets thirsty, etc.

I probably shouldn't reply here as both my little sisters are d-free, but everytime my middle sister feels ill or thirsty, so goes to get tested right away just in case. Every time, it gives me a scare!

I was diagnosed in June of 2003 when iIwas 9 and my sister was born in July of 2003 almost exactly a month later. it was a very interesting summer...we all grew acustomed to hospital food lol. My sister was diagnosed 3 years later (when she was 3) now shes 6 and I am 15. My older brother is 19 and he isnt diabetic