Reports that President Donald Trump believes he will be able to replace Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor because of her Type 1 diabetes are drawing fire from patient advocacy groups and other critics who note the condition is not life-threatening when managed appropriately.
The Insulin Nation Website called the report “shocking,” noting Sotomayor has had the condition since birth and that she manages it with insulin injections, which make it less likely to cause life-threatening complications
The Red State Website went further and called Trump’s comments “outrageous” and scandalous.
On Sunday, Axios reported that Trump believes he will be able to appoint four Supreme Court justices before his time in office is up. The report was based on information provided by several anonymous sources who said they spoken directly to the president about the issue.
The Axios report said that, in addition to replacing Antonin Scalia with Neil Gorsuch, he expects to replace Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sotomayor.
“Her health. No good. Diabetes,” Trump said, explaining why he believes Sotomayor will be replaced, Axios reported
“If this report is true, then it appears that Trump believes either that Justice Sotomayor’s Type 1 diabetes will be too much of a hindrance for her to remain on the bench or that it may outright cause her death in the next seven years,” Insulin Nation noted.
“Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, unless they choose to retire or are impeached. For the record, few Supreme Court watchers have seen any signs of health concerns concerning Justice Sotomayor, who was appointed during President Barack Obama’s term in office.”
Sotomayor has been very open about her diabetes diagnosis, detailing it in her 2013 memoir, “My Beloved World.” She was diagnosed with diabetes at age 7, when she learned to self-administer insulin.
She also says she learned to overcome the stigma and perceived limits of having Type 1, saying, “I don’t know if they still give diabetic children a list of professions they can’t aspire to, but I’m proud to offer living proof that big dreams are not out of bounds.”
Medical studies have estimated that untreated Type 1 diabetes can shorten life expectancy by a decade or more. A recent Scottish study the Journal of the American Medical Association found men with the metabolic condition lose about 11 years of life expectancy and women 13 years, if it goes untreated.
But a second study, also in JAMA, concluded those early deaths can be avoided with intensive blood sugar management, such as insulin injections.
“Across the board, individuals who had better glucose control due to intensive therapy had increased survival,” said the study’s co-author Dr. Samuel Dagogo-Jack, chief of the division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, HealthDay reported.
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