Amtrak kicks diabetic man off the train in the middle of the woods. “Amtrak personnel told police dispatchers that Sims was drunk and unruly…The Sims family said Sims is diabetic and was going into shock.”

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  1. bluemeep says:

    And he’s still missing!

    Good work, Amtrack. Felt jealous about the airlines getting all of the negative publicity lately?

  2. There are some Amtrack employees going to the Special Hell.

  3. Andamom says:

    This sounds awful — and like a potential lawsuit is in the making.

    However, I regularly have run-ins with people on the NYC subways who could/should be removed. One seemingly schizophrenic man was talking to himself and touching riders a few days ago. It was a packed train and I tried to keep my distance. However, I wanted someone to come along and help this individual — who wasn’t mean — just disturbed. Other riders seemed ready to attack him. There aren’t MTA personnel around enough to get assistance… So, most people just avoid this. But, I wanted to share this related situation… because there are multiple sides to these issues.

  4. DeeJayQueue says:

    I think some people don’t need to get sued, just slapped on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and then told “NO!”

  5. B says:

    Wow, what Amtrak did is disgusting. However, why didn’t he have his insulin with him? Oh wait, I suppose the TSA forbids people traveling with needles.

  6. TPK says:

    Good grief they just left him in the middle of the woods, “two miles from the nearest road”! They’ll be lucky if he doesn’t die… They may never find a body. That seems to cross the line to criminal negligence to me…

  7. Scuba Steve says:

    Despicable, sure, but it fails to incite a regurgitative reaction in me. So I don’t find it that disgusting. In fact, I’m rather hungry.

  8. sonichghog says:

    Yea, and if they did not remove him and he hurt another passenger the headline would be: Amtrack employees do nothing about disorderly passenger.

  9. wesrubix says:

    what’s truly disappointing here is that Amtrak failed to check if he had a diabetic necklace or bracelet on indicating his condition. Had they checked (assuming the man had the appropriate medic-wear on as he should), they would have averted this inhumane blunder.

  10. @Andamom: Yeah but when you put someone off of a subway train you don’t leave them in the middle of the tunnel. They left this guy in the middle of nowhere all by himself.

    @sonichghog: How would somebody going into diabetic shock hurt other passengers?

  11. acambras says:

    Not to mention that the article said the elevation was 8000 feet (about 3000 feet higher than Denver). I am about half that man’s age, a non-smoker, and in good health. But if you put me anywhere at 8000 feet, I would not have a very easy time of it.

  12. sonichghog says:

    How? The story stated he was disorderly. I imagine if he was just sitting there, they would of left him alone.

    Also, the story does not mention if he had a medical bracelet on. I would hope that they would of checked for it.

  13. Anitra says:

    Diabetic shock does share a lot of symptoms of drunkenness; however, it can be easily stopped with something sugary – candy or juice work well.

    Heck, I’m not diabetic (not yet, anyway – it runs in my family), and I still get pretty disoriented when my blood sugar gets too low… it can be tough sometimes to step back and realize I need to eat something.

    If he was really that disorderly, someone needed to be restraining him until the police came, instead of letting him abandon his luggage and run into the woods.

  14. B says:

    symptoms of diabetic shock (hypoglycemia):
    * Hunger
    * Sweating
    * Shallow breathing
    * Dizziness
    * Visual problems such as double vision
    * Trembling
    * Rapid heartbeat (palpitations)
    * Fainting
    * Confusion (sometimes mistaken for drunkenness or aggression)


    I guess it’s possible that he seemed dangerous, but it’s extremely unlikely that a 65 year old man with diabetes could hurt anybody. Unless, of course, he had some sort of weapon.

  15. TinaT says:

    Even if he was drunk and disorderly, he shouldn’t have been put out of the train in the middle of nowhere. If they had enough control of him to remove him, then they had enough control to keep him from hurting himself or anyone else until they reached civilization.

  16. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Just because someone misbehaves in a transatlantic flight, do you open the exit door and throw the person off the plane, leaving him to find the nearest land mass on their own? Exactly.

  17. Terek Kincaid says:

    If he turns up dead, I see criminal negligence charges. It’s a train, for crying out loud. Lock him in a bathroom or something. Don’t throw him off in the middle of nowhere. What about the plastic handcuffs they keep on airplanes, they don’t have them on the trains, too?

    As far as his insulin is concerned, this is actually caused by taking too much. This shock is caused by having your blood sugar too low, not too high, which is what happens when you don’t treat your diabetes. He sounds like a Type I, which means he has to take insulin before every meal. You have to carefully calculate how much you take before you eat. If you medicate, then for some reason don’t wind up eating, or don’t eat enough, your blood sugar will crash and you’ll go hypoglycemic (instead of hyperglycemic). Most diabetics will keep some glucose tablets on them for a quick rebound. However, if he didn’t realize what was going on, he is basically out of his mind (as was evidenced by his behavior) and unable to self-medicate. Basically, all he needed was a candy bar (like that CHiPs episode), not being tossed off the train.

    Unlike hyperglycemia, which kills you slowly (years, decades), hypoglycemia can kill you very quickly. Since his hypoglycemia is not natural, however, it is possible his body eventually corrected itself before things go too dangerous. However, if they didn’t Amtrak is in some major trouble.

  18. madktdisease says:

    @TinaT:

    exactly. no matter what he did, even if he was piss drunk, he didn’t deserve that. drop him at a station and call the cops? yes. leave him in the middle of absolutely nowhere to the elements? that’s reckless. it’s effing unconscionable. even a stone cold sober person would be SOL. how on earth did this decision get made? how could the people that did this not think he would die? how could they not think “my god, what if he dies and they charge me with a crime?”

  19. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    Insulin wouldn’t have helped him – he needed sugar.

    [www.medterms.com]

    “Symptoms include a sweet, chemical odor on the patient’s breath that is similar to that of acetone or alcohol (“acetone breath”), fatigue, light-headedness or fainting….”

    Now, as a diabetic, I’d like to take a moment to chide diabetics who don’t keep a source of glucose on them at all times. Hypoglycemia can be a terrifying experience, but anyone who diabetes needs to be either carry glucose tabs with them at all times, or at least have the good sense to wear one of those medical alert necklaces to let people know what’s happening if they aren’t able to communicate it themselves.

    That said, SOME people who go into diabetic shock can get violent.

    That was still a lousy thing to do. I don’t know if personnel who service the trains are properly trained in handling unruly passengers.

  20. sabrinad says:

    As someone who’s been trapped travelling with drunken jerks more than once before, I completely understand Amtrak’s point of view. Seriously, people, stopping a train is not something you just do for kicks – it probably put them minimally 15 minutes behind schedule, and if they got significantly off schedule they could have risked losing their right of way on the tracks to freights, caused passengers to miss connections, etc. And it was only five miles out of town, not 500. It’s obviously terrible that he had a medical condition and now he’s in serious danger, but their policy states they can throw you off the train if they feel you’re a threat, and the Amtrak staff wouldn’t have thrown him off the train if he didn’t seem to deserve it. And as for “but he has a disease,” why wouldn’t the passenger have notified the conductor of special needs? The conductors can’t be expected to have an encyclopedic knowledge of disorders that make you seem like a frat boy.

    It’s unfortunate for all parties but I don’t feel Amtrak’s an evil, diabetic-persecuting megalomaniacal force in this. Had I been on the train and felt threatened by a drunken moron, I would probably have cheered the conductor on for removing him.

  21. MikeB says:

    It wouldn’t matter if someone was trained to deal with unruly passengers, they should not have put him off at that spot, even if he was only drunk and not suffering from a diabetic shock. He could have still gotten hurt. That was a piss poor call on the train personnels part.

  22. Jiminy Christmas says:

    @terekkincaid: I have to agree about criminal charges. This was not a “bad call.” I believe the legal standard for manslaughter goes something like callous disregard for human life. At least that’s what I remember from Law & Order. Seems to fit in this instance.

    Based on the linked article I would guess this guy was abandoned in the middle of Coconino National Forest. I visited there on a trip to Flagstaff last year. It’s quite beautiful. Don’t be fooled by the ‘forest’ part though, it’s actually high desert. If one were well and truly lost out there without water I would give even a nominally healthy person 3-5 days to live.

    That said, if the guy’s cell phone was used in Litchfield Park, that puts him (or the phone) just outside Phoenix. So either he’s there and too out of his mind to call the right person…or he’s still in Coconino and someone found, stole, etc. his phone.

  23. madktdisease says:

    @sabrinad:

    um, so someone should be left for dead because they appeared drunk? remind me not to show up at any of your house parties.