TRENTON, N.J. - In an effort to assist law enforcement and emergency medical professionals as they respond to motorists experiencing diabetic shock, Senators Fred Madden and Jim Beach have sponsored legislation that would permit individuals to voluntarily indicate that they are insulin dependent on their license or identification card. The measure was unanimously approved today by the full Senate.
"The emotional and physical characteristics brought along by diabetic shock can easily be attributed to other conditions, leading to incorrect diagnoses and significant delays in proper treatment," said Madden, D-Gloucester and Camden. "Through these voluntary health designations, we can avoid the severe and at times fatal consequences of misdiagnosis and improve the accuracy of first responders."
The bill, S-2405/A-945, would authorize the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to allow an individual to voluntarily indicate their diabetic status on a license or identification card. Under the bill, the designation would be made in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Chief Administrator of the MVC and only be used for purposes of assisting law enforcement officials or emergency medical professionals as they diagnose a person who has been rendered unable to communicate due to diabetic seizure.
The legislation was inspired by several encounters throughout New Jersey in which symptoms of diabetic shock could have been misdiagnosed as other health conditions. One particular incident occurred in November 2010, when the New Jersey State Police found a driver slumped behind the wheel of his car, slurring his words and appearing to be falling asleep. While these symptoms could have been attributed to alcohol or drug consumption, paramedics discovered that the motorist was experiencing diabetic shock. According to State Police records, his blood sugar was so low that he could have suffered a coma, seizure, or even death.
"When it comes to medical emergencies, time is of the essence and individuals experiencing diabetic shock need to receive immediate treatment," said Beach, D-Camden. "By keeping these designations strictly voluntary, this legislation avoids privacy concerns while still offering critical assistance to those who truly need it."
The Senate today approved the measure by a vote of 39-0. It cleared the General Assembly in April. The bill now heads to the governor for his signature.