Courthouse X-ray scanners knock out kid's insulin pump

Mom tries to alert county to problem but the sheriff isn't listening
Ronda Milhoan's son, Mathew, faced a potentially life-threatening situation last week when his insulin pump was damaged by the security X-ray machine at the Jackson County Courthouse in Medford.Jamie Lusch

Ronda Milhoan didn't expect jury duty to turn into a life-threatening event for her diabetic son.

The 44-year-old Central Point mother couldn't find anyone to take care of 15-year-old Mathew, so she brought him with her to the Jackson County Justice Building in Medford on June 18.

While going through security, she told the guards her son's insulin pump and meter could be damaged by X-rays in the scanner.

"They refused to listen to me when I said this stuff isn't supposed to go through this machinery," she said.

The summons she received for jury duty stated she could face a fine or jail time if she didn't show up, so she decided to risk putting the equipment through the scanner.

"I'm trying to be a mother," she said. "I'm trying to do my civic duty. I was trying to do both at the same time."

Her son's $7,500 pump was damaged along with a $200 meter, she said.

Not aware that the pump was malfunctioning, Mathew received a dangerously high dose of insulin, said Milhoan.

She was able to get his insulin levels under control, but worried Mathew would again be hospitalized, as he was on Mother's Day.

Milhoan appealed to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners Wednesday and told the commissioners she has tried without success to speak with Sheriff Mike Winters about correcting the problem at the courthouse.

"Is my son's life not worth that much of his time?" she said.

When the pump died, Milhoan thought she would send the bill to the county, but the company that makes the pump sent her a new one because the old one was still under warranty.

Still, she said something needs to be done to alert the guards at the courthouse, and she wants to talk with Winters about the situation.

"How do we get ahold of him?" she asked commissioners.

Commissioner C.W. Smith said, "I cannot respond to why the sheriff hasn't responded."

Winters, who was on a training exercise last week and in Roseburg Wednesday, could not be reached for comment.

The commissioners appeared sympathetic to Milhoan's situation.

"I've got two pumps on either side of me," said Smith, referring to insulin devices worn by Commissioners Dave Gilmour and Jack Walker.

"Diabetics need to be treated with much more respect," said Gilmour, who said that he had previously experienced problems going through security at the county-run Medford airport.

Milhoan said she hopes the county will change its policies to better protect people with diabetes.

"We're not dropping the ball," said Smith. The county has asked its human resources director to contact Milhoan to delve into the issue.

"This is not about money — this is about a person's life," said Milhoan. "This is about the dignity of a person who has to live with this disease."

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.


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