INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- For Sherry Martin, M.D., starting her new job at Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) in August 2005 was stressful enough. She was in the process of leaving her 15-year clinical practice and moving her family from Mississippi to Indianapolis – home of Lilly's headquarters – when she heard the first reports of a Category 5 hurricane heading toward the Gulf states.
"When I heard that it might make landfall, I remembered what it was like for me as a child when Hurricane Camille hit and the power was out for days," said Dr. Martin, now vice president of Medical Development, Lilly Diabetes. "When Katrina hit, I knew – as an endocrinologist – that those with diabetes and those who rely on insulin would be immensely affected if they hadn't prepared."
That need for preparation is what propelled Martin to join her new Lilly colleagues and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) in launching the "My Diabetes Emergency Plan." The plan, which became available six months after Katrina, outlines the steps necessary for those with diabetes – and their caregivers – to properly prepare for emergencies from natural disasters to unexpected circumstances.
"If there's one thing I hope people learned from Katrina, it's that being prepared can save your life," said Martin. "When you've been displaced from your home, forced to flee your hometown and not sure of how loved ones fared, the last thing you can remember is your doctor's phone number or the names and doses of all your medicines. Having this information ahead of time not only helps you, it helps the doctors who are trying to treat you."
One of those doctors was Jeff Jackson, M.D., FACE, CDE, now a medical fellow for Lilly Diabetes. In August 2005, he was a practicing endocrinologist in Texas who volunteered to help hurricane evacuees who were bused to central Texas for shelter and medical treatment at a local community center.
"We used photos of different types of medicines to identify unrecognized pills and showed them to patients in the hope that they would recognize them and be able to tell us what they were taking," said Dr. Jackson. "They were traumatized, exhausted and confused. We did the best we could. The enormity of what happened never left us, and we were able to apply those lessons to the My Diabetes Emergency Plan checklist."
Since its inception, more than 12 million copies of the checklist have been distributed to physicians, emergency responders and city planners. In addition, the checklist now has an accompanying how-to video and online tools and is available in Spanish.
"The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists exists to provide endocrinologists with valuable resources to better serve patients," said Lawrence Blonde, M.D., FACP, FACE, Director, Ochsner Diabetes Clinical Research Unit, Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, and member of AACE. "We are pleased that we've been able to provide the My Diabetes Emergency Plan checklist to those who need it most and during the most opportune time – before an emergency happens."
Preparing in advance is what helped Alysia Evans and her family in August 2005 when they left their home in Mandeville, La., ahead of Katrina's landfall.
Evans' daughter, a toddler at the time and newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, was taking a diluted form of insulin that could only be filled at a compounding pharmacy. When the family fled to a Shreveport, La., hotel to ride out the storm, Evans was already prepared.
"Like most mothers, I carried a diaper bag, but for this storm, we had no idea how long we'd be gone so I was overly cautious," said Evans, now development manager for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's (JDRF) New Orleans office. "She was so little and she couldn't tell us when she didn't feel well so we had to be prepared. When we left, I carried orange juice, carbohydrate supplies, medical history, syringes . . . everything I could think of related to diabetes."
Even with the preparation, however, Evans ran into a snag. The compounding pharmacy on the Gulf Coast was without power. Residents were not allowed back into the region. Days at the hotel in Shreveport stretched into weeks, and she needed to refill her daughter's prescription.
"With diluted insulin, you can't just go into your local drugstore and pick it up," said Evans. "It was only filled at a compounding pharmacy, and we didn't know where to find one in Shreveport. It was very scary. I was an absolute mess. Thankfully it worked out and we found one in time."
More than 1 million people in the Gulf region were displaced by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. It's estimated that about 9 percent of New Orleans residents affected by Katrina had diabetes, with nearly 25 percent on insulin therapy.1 Katrina, which made landfall on Aug. 28, 2005, was the most destructive storm in U.S. history, killing more than 1,800 people and causing roughly $108 billion in property damage.2
"It sounds awful to say, but you have to prepare for the worst," said Evans. "Life is so short and you never know what is going to happen. Katrina was a huge wake-up call for our generation. Everyone needs to be prepared so they can protect themselves and their families."
For more information, visit www.mydiabetesemergencyplan.com.
Approximately 29 million Americans3 and an estimated 387 million people worldwide have type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type, accounting for an estimated 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases. Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body either does not properly produce, or use, the hormone insulin. 3
About Lilly Diabetes
Lilly has been a global leader in diabetes care since 1923, when we introduced the world's first commercial insulin. Today we work to meet the diverse needs of people with diabetes through research and collaboration, a broad and growing product portfolio and a continued commitment to providing real solutions—from medicines to support programs and more—to make lives better. For more information, visit www.lillydiabetes.com.
About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at www.lilly.com and newsroom.lilly.com/social-channels.
About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents more than 6,000 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. The majority of AACE members are certified in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. Visit our website at www.aace.com.
PP-LD-US-0085 08/2015 ©Lilly USA, LLC 2015. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of the respective owners.
1 Ford ES, Mokdad AH, Link MW, Garvin WS, McGuire LC, Jiles RB, Balluz LS. Chronic disease in health emergencies: in the eye of the hurricane. Prev Chronic Dis. 2006 Apr; v.3(2). Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1563956/
2 National Weather Service. The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones from 1851 to 2010. Available at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf. Accessed on August 20, 2015.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf. October 2014. Accessed on August 20, 2015.
SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company