Diabetic ejected from pub for injecting insulin

Tue, 11 Mar 2014
A man with type 1 diabetes has hit out at a local pub after claiming he was kicked out for injecting insulin in public.

Neil Simpson, who has lived with type 1 diabetes since the age of 6, is forced to inject the hormone around five times a day in order to keep his blood sugar levels under control.

Last week he administered one of his daily insulin shots through his jeans while watching football with friends at O'Donoghue's pub in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, but claims he was promptly pulled aside by landlady Eileen O’Donoghue and told to leave.

"I have injected my insulin in restaurants, airports and public places all over the world, and no-one has ever batted an eyelid," the 46-year-old businessman said.

"What has happened is unacceptable and it is discrimination, simple as that. I have to take my insulin, I have no choice. It’s not like I was rolling my sleeve up and putting a belt round my arm, it was just through my clothes. I’m not going to do it in the toilet as with the greatest respect it’s the least hygienic place in the building.

"There are 1.5 million people with diabetes in this country so I’m not just standing up for myself but lots of others too."

Ms O'Donoghue, and her husband John Ashton, who run the pub together, strongly deny any wrongdoing and insist they do not discriminate against people with diabetes.

The couple say they understand Mr Simpson's medical requirements but claim he was told on several occasions not to inject in full view of customers at the bar as some may feel uncomfortable. A quieter room at the back of the pub was suggested as a more suitable alternative.

Ms O'Donoghue, who is a qualified nurse, added that on the day of the incident she took him to one side and spoke to him quietly about the episode.

"We are not anti-diabetic in the slightest," said Mr Ashton. "He has been asked repeatedly by Eileen and myself not to inject in front of customers.

"The majority of diabetics are very discreet because some people are squeamish about needles, but the fact is he did it at the bar right next to the door. We do not have a policy against it, but we have to look after the majority of our customers."

When it comes to injecting insulin in public places, Diabetes.co.uk advises the following:

• Be aware that some people may be either needle phobic or not accustomed to seeing an injection being done in public; so try and inject discretely where possible - for example, you may wish to inject in your stomach with your back turned to people unless you know they are ok with it.

• Always pick a place to inject with lots of room where you're not going to have people getting close to you.
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