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Diabetes Death--She Ignored Medical Advice, Now Celebrity is the Latest Victim

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More and more often we hear stories of people who do not listen to the medical advice that they seek. The most recent public victim of this phenomenon is Casey Johnson, the 30 year old Johnson fortune heiress.

Ms. Johnson was found dead on January 4. Autopsy results have now been released and according to the L.A. County Coroner, its findings were that the cause of death was related to her diabetes. The cause of her natural death is called ‘diabetic ketoacidosis’.

Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body is surviving on too little insulin for an extended period of time. Mayo Clinic described the diabetic condition as one which creates toxic acid build up which can cause diabetic coma. The site explains that diabetic ketoacidosis can be fatal if untreated.

Reports state that Casey Johnson was fully aware of her health condition yet she was not taking the recommended insulin or taking care of her body as her doctors had recommended. Sources close to her reported that she was not exercising or following the diet recommended for her condition. There was a lot of media attention at the time of her death about her erratic behavior and the unsanitary conditions in which she was living. These reports added to the hype and speculation about her life and death.

Question is: Why don’t people listen to the medical advice that they seek and pay for?

Overweight patients that are tired, are short of breath or have chest pain are told to exercise and lose weight or they’ll die. Do they do it?

Patients with high cholesterol are told to change their diet? Do they do it?

Businesspeople are told to reduce the stress in their life so they don’t have a heart attack. Do they do it?

Smokers are told to quit smoking. Do they do it?

What is it about the human psyche that makes us doubt the advice that we get? Do we know better? Do we think that the worst that can happen will only happen to someone else and not us? Are we waiting for a magic potion or some fairy dust that will make it all go away?

Very curious!

What have you been told about your own health condition? Is there anything that you’ve turned a blind eye to? Do you know why?

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

"What is it about the human psyche that makes us doubt the advice that we get?" Humans are motivated to act by much more than knowing what is good for them. We have complex needs and desires that are satisfied by our actions in ways that we can't begin to understand.

February 9, 2010 - 11:13pm
EmpowHER Guest

Agreed! People who aren't diabetics don't understand you're playing biochemistry 24/7. I dare them to walk a day in our shoes!

J&J has a new artificial pancreas in clinical trials in Europe. This makes me a little suspicious about why SHE wasn't testing it out...

February 8, 2010 - 6:59am
EmpowHER Guest

Type I diabetes is a lot more complicated than doing what your doctor says, taking insulin, and exercising. It is a relentless disease (meaning that to live it with requires 24/7 monitoring and care by the person with the disease) and can be quite life-threatening in a very short amount of time (meaning that a simple mistake like miscalculating carbohydrate content in a food or failing to notice an occlusion in an insulin pump tube can land you in the ER or the morgue in a matter of hours).

I don't know how Casey was managing her diabetes -- pump? shots? nothing at all? -- and I am sure that her hard-n-fast lifestyle made it incredibly difficult for her to manage her disease. Perhaps she was in denial, perhaps she was suffering from a mental disorder, or perhaps she had no one to support her when times got really tough and she was just TIRED. Looking at all of these possibilities I find it very hard to blame Casey 100% for her death. She was living with a chronic illness, she made an error in judgment, and it cost her her life. There but for the grace of God go I, and I pray every day for a cure.

February 8, 2010 - 3:56am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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