What are my rights as a diabetic in a public held event?

I recently joined a support group in Houston for T1's and just think they are awesome. Last month, I was shocked to find out one person was denied entering a concert because of her insulin pen in her purse. I have run into similar issues before, but won out after sort of arguing with security. This weekend I am going to the Houston Grand Prix races and will be hanging out all day long in the sun. I want to take along a backpack full of all my supplies. Meters, tablets, insulin pen and certainly snack foods/sugar free drinks. The tickets are not cheap and it will be quiet a trip just to get there. Unfortunately, I just read they will bag search and food/drinks are not allowed. I guess you guys know that hotdogs and burgers are the best and waiting in a long line is sometimes not an option. I don't know if this varies by state, but do we have rights that allow us to take these sort of things in a public event despite of their published rules? They sometimes tell me we have food/drink for sale inside the event. I would be interested to know if there are any rights covering this and can read up on them. If so, I may print one out and stick it in my bag and smile as I hand it to security. Interested to know what you guys do in these situations. Yes, I do have my medic alert medal around my neck just to show them. Clayton

Oppps Typo Hotdog and bugers are "not" the best.....

I just carry glucose tabs for if I should go low, they are light and no back pack required. I think the pen in the purse is not usually a problem. I think having an RX for the pen might be explanation enough. I go to tons of "events" where they search and pat, and never had to give up anything. The venue has the "right" to refuse admission, and if they say no food or drink then I would not attempt to bring them in. I guess I don't expect a place like a big concert amphitheater, the racetrack, a city block party to have specialty foods for folks with special diets. I dig hot dogs, and at the ball game they are a must (and my favorite part of the experience - besides winning). If access is refused, I would take my fight to Wizards and get my money back. Have fun :)

I would review any information (website) that the event has and contact the event staff and discuss your situation. I doubt the staff will have any issue with your requests and may provide some answers if security gives you any gruff. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) would be the next place I would go. This is a federal law, so it is applicable in your state. I am familiar with their requirements for obtaining and keeping a job as far as diabetes goes, but cannot comment as per events. It may be worth calling an ADA hotline if you are not satisfied with the staff's answer.

I am also assuming that you plan to use your insulin and meds as prescribed and not cause any problems with them? I always try to put my meds and meter in a more secure location that security may not be able to view. I personally think that your health is not any concern of theirs so why bother to let them know?

My gut feeling is that if they have ramps (for wheelchairs) and a first aid tent, then they should not be allowed to tell you that you cannot enter. The other factor may be that if this is a private event on private land, then the event organizers can ask anyone to leave (or not enter) for any reason they want.

ADA page on public events

People with diabetes often wonder whether they will be able to bring diabetes supplies into places like theaters, stadiums, and court houses, take their supplies through airport security, or fully participate in private and government programs, including camps and daycare. People with diabetes have the right to participate fully in our society without sacrificing their medical safety or facing discrimination because of misunderstandings, fears, and stereotypes about diabetes.

Federal laws prohibit most public places and programs—whether operated by private companies, non-profit organizations, or the government—from discriminating against people with diabetes. You should not be excluded because of your diabetes or be denied access to your diabetes supplies, and you should be provided with reasonable accommodations if necessary.

Here are some things you may be entitled to:

Permission to bring diabetes care supplies, including syringes, lancets, and insulin through security checkpoints, including at airports and courthouses
Breaks to check blood glucose levels, eat a snack, take medication, or use a restroom
Assistance with diabetes management for children in daycare, camps, and recreational programs
Contact us if you think you are being discriminated against in a place of public accommodation or in a government program, activity, or service.

Thanks guys. Good info.

I think Tim's post pretty much says it all. ADA is federal law and trumps and state law or local ordinances. The exceptions are private and other exclusive events that are not public and which are not necessarily covered by ADA.

I've never been hassled anywhere like amusement parks or sporting events but I usually travel lightly with a couple doses of quick acting carbs and will just graze on what's at hand and **force myself** to eat burgers, cheese fries and Budweiser. I've taken syringes into all sorts of places without hassles either. I have a letter from my old doc, like 2003 or 4, that notes I have diabetes and need insulin and supplies but he didn't specify anything about snackage. I think they might balk at you bringing in sandwiches or more "food" items and they probably have Diet Soda inside if you want that (for $5.00/ quart or whatever, of course...) so I think that it's reasonable of them to object to that. I'm not sure what a jury would make of that if they toss you and you sue them. It seems pretty clear that you have the right to bring what you need but snack foods is pretty broad. I used to lug granola bars along until I relized that a ton of carbs that work slowly isn't necessarily useful for controlling my BG.

I carry a letter from my doctor at all times. It explains that I need supplies, etc. Food is a lot trickier at events. I had some spice drops for lows in my purse at a Paul McCartney concert and they were confiscated, even with the letter and a "discussion."

OH! I forgot... Pockets don't get searched for events, so pens, etc. can hide there.

I think this issue hinges on the term, “place of public accomodation.” The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that a disabled person must be allowed access to any place that accomodates the public, even private property. The distinction is drawn that if it is a private club or church, then it is not a place of public accommodation. Any venue that will sell a ticket to any member of the public is a public accommodation, even if they are privately owned. Think of the Woolworths lunch counters of the civil rights struggles in the American South in the '50s and ‘60s.

I’ve researched this topic many times in dealing with access for me and my hypoglycemia alert service dog in a variety of venues. I have taken my dog with me to several church weddings with the understanding that I could be asked to remove the dog from the church. That has never happened.

Here’s a cut and paste from a Q&A from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), eeoc.gov:

"Q. What are public accommodations?

A. A public accommodation is a private entity that owns, operates, leases, or leases to, a place of public accommodation. Places of public accommodation include a wide range of entities, such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers. Private clubs and religious organizations are exempt from the ADA’s title III requirements for public accommodations."

I would be more aggressive in defining any food that is with me as a reasonable accomodation for my insulin dependent diabetes. I can’t be standing in some public venue line waiting for food as my glucose plummets to incoherent levels! I would characterize all food as a medical necessity. Glucose tabs may be enough for an emergency, but adhering to the diet you prefer is fundamental to consistent BG control. This is a point that I would not concede lightly. As a practical matter, I try to hide all food as best I can so I don’t have to be disagreeable.

Keep a copy of your prescription and a copy of the Americans with Disabilities Act, just the first page. I doubt anyone is going to deny you with that in their face.

I deal with getting groped at public events because I wont go through a scanner or magnometer, but I have never been denied entrance.

I was at a water park with my daughter, and at the top of a water slide they told me I can't go with an insulin pump, then a manager came up and told me to just keep it hidden.
Impossible because you are not allowed to wear a shirt on a water park slide, and well, this tube coming out of my stomach is sort of screaming "I AM WEARING A PUMP" But still no one said anything to me since that day. I just keep it in my pocket.

My wife and I travel quite a bit. I have a letter from my Endo that states that I am required to carry various things like needles, insulin, drinks, and snacks... I have been asked at mlb ball parks as well as TSA at the airports. I explain my situation and they let me through. I have yet to have to show them the letter. I will be traveling to France and then to Iceland and do not expect any issues.

One thing you can do is to find if they have a disables access gate. The people that man those are 1) not overcome by tons of people pushing to get in and 2) beter trained (i.e. more able to understand your situation). It's worth a try

I was wondering about this too.. I haven't gone to anything like that since being on insulin etc. But I once told guards at a concert I needed water for health reasons & they let me bring it in. I think I'm going to get a letter too for this type of thing and hope that works. I think if you have your D stuff in a little bag inside a larger bag they may not even notice it or in a pocket as someone said.

I dont know I think my view on food is a lot different than others, my personal opinion of bringing outside food, drinks to public events is simply its ONE day out of my life, I'm not going to make a big deal about having to eat something I might not normally eat. Public events yes by law have to be accessible, and yes that would include to me being allowed to bring in my meter, insulin,glucose tabs etc. But I'm not expecting a public event to have special dietary foods, and I have never yet been to a public event I couldn't get a diet soda. Sometimes you just need to be flexible, and realize ONE day isn't going to be the end off of your diabetes management. Just like if I go to the movies, I'm going to realize this is a few hours out of my life, make adjustments and eat a popcorn or a hot dog, or nacho chips.

I sort of agree, but at the movies I have brought my own snacks and drinks for years actually, candy and so on.. no problems and it should be no different with D. I don't think it would mess me up to eat different food for one day, but I do need to bring my candy, glucose drinks, juice- my preferred low treatment now and water. Those are a must to have with me if I go low or too high. I'm not going to try to run around purchasing juice etc. if I'm dropping fast, I want it on my person. I don't see why we should be forced to buy expensive bottled water or drink yucky tap water or whatever D or no D. I do prefer though not to eat food at a lot of events, long before D because it is poor quality a lot of the time and it almost always upsets my stomach.

LOL the only reason I do that meee, hahaha is because it's ridiculous the price they charge for food at the movies. LOL I'm not paying 2 dollars for a box of butterfingers, lol and YES I know BAD diabetic. LOL but they are so darn good, and I'll live. I guess me personally I just don't want to be hassled with a bunch of different ways to treat a low. I have my glucose tabs, and that's all I carry. But that's just me, we all have to find what works best for us. I guess I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants kinda D. :-)

I used to do the glucose tabs but they aren't fast enough for me now unless it's a mild low so I bring everything now.. I teach with juice by my side... yeah, those prices are ridiculous..lol, that is why I did that too! Unless my xbf was there and then he bought tons of popcorn which we didn't finish ever, lol. maybe I will have some butterfingers someday, lol.

You do have significant rights and could probably legally bring in food for dietary reasons if you are willing to fight over it, but I think the best solution is to simply call the event organizers (the raceway) and find out what their rules are, how they do things, and what they'll allow you to bring in. If they are unreasonable, the'll probably be willing to change them.

From their website....

"Outside food and beverages are prohibited, with the exception of one 20oz or smaller unopened bottle of water per guest, or food and drink necessary for infants or medical purposes. Complimentary water fountains will be available."