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This article was originally published in Diabetes Health in April, 2007.
Diabetes Health magazine recently had the pleasure of interviewing Doug Burns for a lengthy feature. He is a well-spoken and forthcoming man with a good sense of humor and an easy-going manner. Altogether, he comes across as a very nice person. On Sunday, however, Doug Burns was severely beaten by police during an episode of low blood sugar that occurred at a movie theater in Redwood City, California.
Doug states that he remembers seeing his friend in the theater and then feeling that he was getting low. He hurried to a snack counter to find food but apparently was intercepted by a security guard who thought he was intoxicated, even though he did not smell of liquor and was wearing a medic alert bracelet. The next thing he remembers is waking up while being given glucose by paramedics. He was surrounded by seven armed policemen who had severely clubbed him in the head and body, maced him, and handcuffed him, in spite of his medic alert cards and jewelry. The police had even brought in dogs.
Doug believes that had he been less well dressed or from a different ethnic background, the police might have shot and perhaps killed him. He comments that one of the worst things the police did was to call his young daughter and tell her what was happening to her father. The incident serves to underscore the need for better education of police officers and security personnel about how to distinguish hypoglycemia from intoxication.
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