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The Cattle Syringe

Jan 16, 2012

A gentleman was referred to me for assistance in helping with glycemic control. He was a rancher. For the prior 2-3 years, his insulin type had been changed from NPH to Lantus and finally to Levemir in an attempt to help with his FBS control. When I saw him, he had been on Levemir for several months; the dose had been increased at each doctor visit due to continued high morning BS’s. He was checking BS in the middle of the night and was not having any lows….

At our first visit, I asked him to bring his insulin vial/syringes/glucometer, etc… with him on his next visit.

At our second visit, he pulled out a syringe that had been used so many times the numbers were totally worn off! He said he had “gotten good at guessing” when drawing up his dose! I asked him how often he changed syringes. He replied that he had never been told to change syringes — and did not even have a prescription for them — he had been using the present one for over a year and it was from a set of syringes he had used to give his cattle shots!

I gave him a sample of new syringes, made sure he got a prescription, and saved his old syringe as a reminder to myself to never forget to ask the simple questions that we assume so many people know.

Lesson Learned:

Asking the right questions and having the patient bring their medications and devices and have them demonstrate their techniques can prevent future or current problems.

Jeri Mills, MHR, RD/LD, CDE


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