Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Insulin Pump vs. the Over-Zealous Proctor

Sara Kingsley, 24, showed up to take the G.R.E exam last month in Lowell. She is diabetic and wears an insulin pump. The exam proctor spotted the pump, with its digital screen and vaguely iPod-like appearance, and, suspecting that it was some sort of high-tech cheat sheet, instructed the young lady to remove it before entering the exam room. After Kingsley explained the device's crucial function, that it stabilizes her blood sugar by injecting insulin into her body, and went so far as to lift up the back of her shirt to show him that the pump's tubes were actually attached to her body, he relented and allowed her to enter the exam room, pump and all. But not so fast with that cranberry juice and blood-sugar monitoring kit. Kingsley was made to leave them outside of the room, even though they are essential tools she uses to keep her blood sugar levels stable. Once the test was underway, the over-zealous proctor hovered around Kingsley and told her, during a break, that he was still suspicious of her so-called insulin pump. I'm sure Sara KIngsley was able to focus, full-tilt, on her exam. I'm sure she aced it.
What could she have done differently? She could have asked for prior written approval to bring her medical equipment and the cranberry juice into the exam. Thousands of special accommodations are made each year.
What could the proctor have done differently? Once he had grilled her about the pump, he should have just left her alone, no hovering or snide remarks. And he should have made darn sure that that blood-sugar monitoring kit and cranberry juice were within easy reach. What would he rather have on his conscience, someone who cheated their way into grad school or someone who went into insulin shock?
Read the Boston Globe story here:


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