NEWSBREAK: A Toddler Dies (T1?), a Mother Speaks; A News Story Just Wrong?

breaking_news1There is so much wrong with this story that I’m shaking as I write it. 

Be warned—-this is a very sad story. 

Shaking with anger; shaking with the fact that once again here we are with yet another child dying, at 20 months of age, and by all accounts it may very well be from type 1 diabetes (CBS 58 reports: The coroner’s report stated that Jame Franz’s blood sugar was 4 times the normal reading for a child that age).  Shaking because a mom, Crystal Franz, had no idea her child was ill.  She saw no signs.

The first reporter in the story states that the mother is speaking out because the coroner’s report says the child had an unusually high blood sugar number and the mother felt that her parental skills were being question.


I called the station and tried to speak with anyone who was credited with this story and the station, CBS-News 58 in Wisconsin, stated that they had no record of Katie Hustad’s phone extension or that she worked there and I left a message for Laura Rodriquez.  Both were listed as writers of the story on the CBS-News 58 website.

I wanted to ask them where they were going with the questions they asked ‘speaking in length’ to the mom?

The mother of little James stated he seemed fine the morning of; and she is at a loss as to what could have taken him.

According to the report, “She admitted that James liked to try all types of food, including juice, chocolate and even diet soda. Franz, however, said that those foods were only given to him in small proportions and not frequently.” 

After running through this list of items the child would eat and/or drink; the reporter asked Crystal Franz; “Do you think the diet had anything to do with it (the death)?”  

Here we go again. 

Why is THAT question even in the reporting?

We have all heard the stories of children being taken to a doctor when flu-like symptoms appeared and no test was done to further investigate if type 1 diabetes was evident.  This story is an entirely new angle to these discussions; there seemed to have been no warning signs to the mom.  None.

Warning signs need to be known, if they are to be heeded.   How would this mom know what to look for; why should she feel blamed for anything—how would she even/ever know?

Her guilt will already be in the stratosphere for the rest of her life.

Is any one else tired of these stories??????……….I surely am. 

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


21 replies on “NEWSBREAK: A Toddler Dies (T1?), a Mother Speaks; A News Story Just Wrong?”

And what about the dr? “If you see that the patient doesn’t have any risk factors, it’s crazy just to do a bunch of tests that the patient doesnt need,” said Dr. Sandra Arce-Garzon. It would be so hard to test blood sugar and ketones! 🙁

You know Andi—-in my original post I stated something about that comment and I thought I could ‘take a hit’ by others who would say, “….well if there is no signs, why test for it…” Thanks for being braver than I.

it’s not a “bunch of tests” – it can start with a simple finger prick that my 12 year old has been doing 8-12 times a day on her own since she was 3 ~ and IMHO should be routine not the exception in pediatric care

I agree. They already test iron levels frequently and the A1C test is the same procedure. It does not take long at all. My son was diagnosed at 4, the only symptoms he had was drinking a lot and peeing even more. But most would reason if they drink more, peeing more would be expected. And that is all I had to tell my son’s doctor. We were lucky, his daughter was diagnosed t1 at age 11, so he was not afraid to check my son for ketones. He knew in a matter of seconds and we were on our way to Children’s.

Just wanted to add that my 20 month old (now six) was not tested for T1, even when he exhibited most of the signs. At The Birmingham Children’s Hospital E.R., one of the docs even asked us if diabetes ran in the family, it doesn’t. So, they sent us home, and twenty-four hours later ended up right back in the same place in severe dka. According to one of the nurses, he was within an inch of going into a coma. Idk why he didn’t (the grace of God), but CH of Bham certainly didn’t want to do a simple finger prick to check. Lazy! Also, we have Blue Cross, so income didn’t play a part.

We had a very similar situation leading up to my daughter’s diagnosis. Monday she was sick and throwing up. Tuesday we were in a Dr’s office{not the regular one we go to, but in the same group-just a different location}, my daughter PEED in a cup and I told the dr{I use this term loosely here} about all her symptoms and that my husband suspected it could be diabetes, at which point the dr said “Oh, well, I think she has a virus. We’ve had about 15 children with viruses since this morning.” He then scheduled for us to come back Friday. Wednesday, my daughter is all but passed out, with her blood sugar over 900, when she took a trip in an ambulance, then later life-lighted to the children’s hospital. And seriously, they get paid so much for what?!?! Grrr…

I took my son to the Dr. and told him that I thought he had diabetes. They ran labwork and it came back normal. I couldn’t believe it..he had all of the signs (which I only knew because my cousin was diagnosed 2 years prior).I took him back and insisted it was wrong shortly after and my doctor was out of town & his partner basically told me I was crazy because he had never seen a diabetic younger than 9 or 10! I was furious so I borrowed my 4 year old cousin’s meter and his blood sugar was 434. Thank god I didn’t believe the lab results.

Well this is extremely disturbing….how could that have happened? Did u see teh results? Can you share anything more—-how distressing this story is to read. So sorry and THANK GOD—you caught it.
Thanks for sharing

I think I caught it so early it didn’t show up in the A1C. That’s the only explanation I could come up with other than lab error. Thank god I can be a persistent pain in the butt because had I believed them my son may not be here. I warn everyone not to trust the lab work because of this. He is now 11 years old and doing well. My second child was diagnosed 6 years later with a blood sugar of 234. I am lucky to have caught them both early but only because my cousin was almost 1200 at diagnosis at age 17 months. She is also alive and well and now 13 years old. I have her to thank for knowing what signs to watch for.

The top of the article now says it’s been “Updated” and none of those quotes you mention appear. However, the disgraceful part of it is what the doctors did (or didn’t do) and what the reporter asked. Changing the article doesn’t change any of that. Thanks for bringing this issue to light.

Ah, I’ve got that now; thank you. It’s so shameful that the mom is put into a position to defend how she raised her child. I don’t care if she gave him a few drops of diet soda or a few cups of sugary Red Bull. It has no bearing on the situation whatsoever. Just awful.

I have to say I am disgusted by the lack of proper research done by the reporters here. “Do you think the diet had anything to do with it”. Seriously had they looked up Type 1 that question would not have been asked. And I will never understand why a simple urine sample at a doctors visit for children is too much to ask. We do it as adults. The strips and cup can not cost that much. Why not make it a requirement for children as well. Type 1 is becoming way too common not to. I was lucky our pediatrician immediately tested my daughter when I took her in and told them the symptoms. Why is it so hard not too? Seems more like lack of training and/or pure laziness if it doesn’t make them a ton of money.

I just received the following email from the reporter and spoke to her on the phone:
Hello Tom,
I’m Laura Rodriguez, the reporter who did the story. I responded to your phone call and left you a voicemail.

I appreciate the call and the feedback on your blog. I have spoken to several people, including the American Diabetes Association, about your concerns. I am working on a follow-up story to create awareness about the differences between Type1 and Type2 diabetes. If you’d like to share any more information about diabetes, feel free to reply to this email.

If you can put me in touch with anyone in the Milwaukee area that has a child with Type1 diabetes please let me know.

Thanks again for taking the time to call. I look forward to working on this story and will work hard to clarify any misconceptions. I understand how important this issue is to so many of you and I hope to work together to make sure we can make a difference, save lives, and inform everyone about Type 1 Diabetes.


Same kinda story here. My son started being extremely thirsty and we went up 2 sizes in diapers in a week and he still soaked through. Dr had no suggestions. Thank God I kept researching online. We suspected T1 but his only symptom was the excessive thirst/urinating so we weren’t thoroughly convinced that’s what it was. But then I looked again and the small print mentioned a yeasty diaper rash. Clincher. We took him to UrgentCare and the Dr there said he probably wouldn’t have caught it but he was getting recertified or something and had JUST studied that symptom. I am continually amazed by the ignorance in the medical field about this.

I too had a similar experience withy son. When he was 4 ( he is now 15), he was showing signs of extreme thirst and bed wetting. He also was getting frequent yeast infections (or jock itch in a male). Whenever he would climb stairs… He would always ask me to carry him because his legs hurt. I told his family doctor about this but because he was not losing a lot of weight, they did not feel it was DM1. About a week later, he ended up extremely sick! We took him to the hospital and I explained the other symptoms to the ER doctor. They did check his sugar and it was 500. They did absolutely NOTHING!! All they did was “observe” him!!! 5 hours later… And me complaining they need to do something… They sent us home!! When we left.. His sugar was still in the 400s!! We drove an hour to another hospital and with-in minutes… He was admitted. I explained the fact that his family doctor did not test for it due to him NOT losing weight!! They told me that not all type 1s will lose weight!! Let that be a lesson learned!!! As for the first hospital we went to, we NEVER went back!!!!

…when my son Ethan was dx 14 yrs ago at the ripe old age of 10 months…he was admitted into Kosair Childrens hospital in severe kda…after earlier in the day going to the ped. and him saying he though he detected a wheez so he sent us home with asthma meds….needless to say they weren’t working…and the ped. came in the ICU the next morning apologizing for not seeing diabetes…pretty sure a quick finger poke could have solved the problems…

I did hear back, and I think she is trying to help. I hope she can find a parent in the area. I blame the ignorant doctors, and the organizations searching for a cure that maybe want the splash of a new study or invention but spend Nothing on teaching MDs what type 1 is and how to test for it!!! I almost lost my son to one of those idiots too. He we into dka and we almost lost him the day after we went to the ER with classic symptoms!

I have to agree with Tom. Why are doctors depending on urine testing anymore? Shoot the fingerprick test for a minute drop of blood is so much faster and more accurate. Also I agree wth the Mother. She had no idea that her son’s blood sugar was high and when the person doing the autopsy says high, my question remains,
“What were the numbers?” and another thing food doesn’t cause diabetes and never has. This poor mother is going through enough and she is not to blame for this happening. The media needs to stop perpetuating falsehoods about diabetes.

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