Sean, my firstborn son, was 8 years old when he was diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis. It was then that we came into contact with stinging realities of skyrocketing medical bills and associated complications.
Sean started showing unprecedented excessive thirst. At first, it appeared normal to us when he was drinking excess water. However, his level of thirst increased as days progressed. He began wetting his bed again for the first time, four years after he had quit.
As his parents, we were not aware of what was happening to our son at first. Notably, His condition worsened. Sean began to complain about abdominal pain. Additionally, we also noticed a significant weight loss in him. When we took him to the hospital we were hoping to have the problem resolved so we could with our lives as usual. However, the medical diagnosis brought us to a different reality. Sean was diabetic, it not only affected us mentally as his parents, but it also affected his school attendance and performance in general.
After the diagnosis we were subjected to stringent medical procedures which included blood testing, adjusting doses of insulin, testing food, and organizing his medical equipment. Before we realized our spontaneous and carefree lifestyle subsided. we had joined a club, which you always ensure that you are in full possession of his medical supplies that you ration carefully to ensure there was no shortage; as any miscalculation would mean risking his life.
Sean is eleven years now. For the past three years, we have been conducting finger-prick blood test at least eight times every day. For the diabetic patients, this is a necessary daily life routine to maintain required sugar level in blood. No matter how much we try, sometimes we fail to keep his blood at the required sugar level. When Sean is in school, for instance, we become concerned; however, we cannot monitor his activities as closely as we do while he is at home.
Until recently, a diabetic diagnosis would be regarded as a death sentence. According to National Institute of Health, almost seven percent of the patients diagnosed with diabetes may not live beyond twenty-five years after diagnosis. The implication is that for patients with diabetes, insulin is a basic necessity.
The cost of insulin has been increasing sharply over the recent years. This rising cost of insulin has caused undue hardships especially to patients with financial needs.
The financial implication is worrisome. The cost of treatment is very high. We can hardly keep up except for the insurance.
According to CDC report, insulin was discovered in 1921 and back then a patent could be bought at $1. However, newer forms have been developed over the years. The cost of these newer forms has increased consistently since their generation. Subsequently, this has increased the cost of caring for diabetic patients.
In 1997 for instance, one form insulin was available for $17. In 2016, a vial of the same had increased to $138. A few years ago another form was released and was sold at $21 but it now trends at $255.
The following brief summary sheds more light the skyrocketing cost of insulin which has effectively increased the financial burden of caring for diabetic patients.
As a parent, there is a deep underlying satisfaction associated with raising a healthy child. This happiness often fades away when our children become sick. Caring for a child with diabetes is very stressful on parents and on the lifestyle of the family. It also comes with a huge financial burden. More research should be carried, particularly on ways of cutting down costs of treating diabetes in children. It is worth noting that it costs $9,333 annually to treat a child with type 1 diabetes. While it costs 5683 for youths who consume oral drugs for type 2 diabetes. Hence, the annual cost of medical care for the young diabetic patients is six times more than that for treating those without the ailment. Since the medical care is too high, more foundations are required to purchase insulin and other diabetic supplies to aid the diabetic patient with a financially challenged background. Hence, donors and philanthropists are encouraged to invest in diabetes treatment, especially for children with type 1 diabetes. Accordingly, the cost of treatment will downsize from the current exorbitant prices.