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Teacher of diabetic child


I am a South African grade 1 teacher, with a delightful little diabetic child in my class. I am required to monitor his glucose, and inject him with insulin should his blood sugar levels become too high (over 15). The injection is in a pen format.

I have no problem monitoring this child and his condition, not do I have an issue injecting him when needed.

I am, however, concerned as to the legal requirements for me to be administering his treatment. What forms or consent do I need to get from the parents? And should I have some form of indemnity should something go wrong??

* Should I be wearing gloves (or a glove) when injecting?
* He often goes very high (18++). Is this normal? Should I be concerned?

Your assistance with these inquiries would be helpful.
– Cindy G

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  1. Richard Richard

    Hi Cindy

    Nice one! Glad to hear you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and help the kid through his school day.

    One question at a time:

    Gloves – if you can, these will probably give you a bit of comfort. You will of course know that diabetes is not a communcable disease, so you aren’t at risk of contracting it! Standard precaution, then.

    Readings above 18 – This is not great over a sustained period. Accepting that the causes are probably out of your control (i.e. he is eating sugary breakfast cereal), you should probably try to bring that down if you can. Keep a record of his pre-injection reading and the amount of insulin you gave him, and give this information to his parents so they can see what effect the dose has. Understanding how much a unit of insulin affects our readings is a key part of glycaemic control.

    Finally, legal requirements… The law in SA gives teachers a legal status in terms of which they can perform certain “parental” acts (such as administering discipline and medicine). The legal term is that you are acting “in loco parentis”. This is the common law position, but it might be superceded by the sign-on forms the parents originally signed with the school. Best to have a read through that form. Your answer should be there but I expect that you are authorised to perform this kind of activity on behalf of the parents. [usual disclaimer – this isn’t formal legal advice!]

    Hope this helps

    • Cindy G Cindy G

      Thanx, Richard.
      I am well aware that diabetes is not contractable. The question re gloves came after I was not paying attention and accidently pricked my finger on the needle… Ouch. My little boy laughed and assured me that he did not think I needed insulin too.

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