Elliott Yamin, Diabetics Face Medical Danger After Earthquake
Singer and diabetic, Elliott Yamin, is stuck in Chile with limited insulin.
March 3, 2010— -- Stranded in Santiago, Chile, after the earthquake Saturday, "American Idol" alum and diabetic Elliott Yamin said he feared for his health after he realized he did not have enough insulin to treat his Type 1 diabetes while he waited for a flight home.
"I only packed enough to get me to Sunday," he said, when his flight was supposed to leave for the United States.
Given the interruptions to medical care and supply transport caused by the earthquake, many other diabetics may be facing the same life-threatening dilemma, said Dr. Vivian Fonseca, chief of section of endocrinology at Tulane University.
Yamin said he has been able to get a six-day restock for his insulin pump through the U.S. Embassy and the manufacturer of the pump that he hopes will last him until he is able to get a flight.
The airport in Santiago reopened Monday, according to Yamin, but flights are currently only carrying supplies in, not people out.
The earthquake, which has already led to death tolls over 700, may result in longer-term health complications without adquate medical care and aid, Fonseca said.
"The important thing now is getting emergency supplies, testing kits and insulin, to victims on the ground," he said, because "for those with Type 1 diabetes, running out of insulin becomes extremely dangerous within a day or two.
"Obviously injured people need attention as well," he said. "But people tend to put on a back burner those with chronic disease like diabetes."