Diabetes on CSI

Did anyone else catch last week’s episode of CSI:NY? We always DVR it (is that now considered an acceptable verb?) and D and I watched it over the weekend. It was a Valentine’s episode and had basically 3 episodes in one. It started with showing the deaths of 3 people, and then proceeded to wrap up the story line on each one, before moving to the next.

One of the story lines struck a cord with me. It was a somewhat large man, who we find out later in the story line was diabetic, who died eating a box of chocolates.

**SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen it yet**

So the story went that this guy was diabetic, his wife bought him one of those heart shape boxes full of candy (TWO POUNDS of chocolate!!) with a label on it that said “Sugar Free”, but we find out later that she’d switched the labels and it was actually real chocolate. (Ok, my first thought – WHO eats TWO pounds of chocolate in one sitting???? And ANY diabetic knows not to eat anywhere near TWO pounds of sugar free anything!!! lol)

The dude starts eating it, well he finishes the box, and then feels “off” so he pulls out his vial of insulin and a syringe and gives himself a shot of insulin … First thing I noticed was he did not check his blood sugar, so how did he know how much to give himself? Ok, maybe now I’m just nitpicking, but it’s a valid question.

Then we find out that the wife not only switched the chocolate, but she also filled his insulin vial with sugar water. So instead of giving himself a dose of insulin to bring his BG down, he was actually giving himself a fatal dose of sugar water, which immediately killed him.

The Medical Examiner that did the autopsy said what tipped him off was the “fruity smell” on his breath, when he was in the morgue. (side note – fruity breath is a sign of DKA, but would one still smell that on a corpse’s breath?)

It always amazes me when I see diabetes on tv.. it’s like the producers go to so much trouble to get the “facts” right, yet so many key (important) elements are always still missing.

First of all, I do not believe this man would have likely died immediately as he did in the episode (maybe they did that for time’s sake, seeing as how it’s only an hour long episode.) Or maybe that last shot of sugar water gave him a heart attack, who knows. But I would hate for someone who is not familiar with diabetes to see that episode and their only take away is “Oh my goodness, if you have diabetes, you can’t each chocolate!”

About Shannon

I am a wife, a mommy, and a Type 1 diabetic (since '92.) I have had two successful pregnancies - one of which was with twins. I wear an insulin pump- - off and on for 17 years; currently on the Medtronic pump and CGM. I am not a medical professional, nor am I giving medical advice. I am just sharing my day to day stories of someone who lives with this disease every day. My ultimate goal is to raise awareness.
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One Response to Diabetes on CSI

  1. seejendance says:

    I think I saw an ER episode a LONG time ago featuring a DKA’d T1 who was in denial. That was probably one of the more realistic portrayals I’ve ever seen.

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