Moncton court

Melissa Carneiro, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, was waiting for a court appearance when she said sheriff officers refused to give her access to insulin. (Robert Jones/CBC)

A Moncton woman feared for her life after Moncton sheriff officers refused to give her access to insulin, according to her family.

Melissa Carneiro, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, was awaiting a court appearance on Feb. 5, when she said sheriff's officers at the holding cell ignored her pleas for her prescription.

She said the insulin she takes four times a day was in the building but she had no access to it.

Carneiro said she banged on the walls until her arms were bruised, trying to convince the guards to give her access the medication.

Dorothy Rowe, Carneiro's mother, said the officers had no idea how badly her daughter needed the insulin.

“She laughed at her and said, ‘Ha ha, you don't need anything,’” Rowe said.

Rowe said her daughter's blood sugar levels were so high she feared for her life.

“She said, ‘Mom, I was so scared, I was so weak and lethargic,’” Rowe said.

“She said, 'I was scared I wasn't going to wake up.'

By the time she was transferred to the Miramichi detention centre later that day, she says her blood sugar levels were dangerously high.

Carneiro was admitted to the Miramichi Regional Hospital where she was treated.

Department can't comment on case

The Department of Public Safety, which is responsible for the province’s sheriffs, said it could not comment on the specific case.

“What we can say is that there is a process in place when it comes to detainees and medication and/or medical issues,” the statement said.

“Sheriff officers are not permitted to administer medication. In the event a detainee requests medication or require medical assistance, they would be transported to the nearest hospital or clinic.”

Nadia Murphy, a pediatric diabetic nurse in Moncton, said people with Type 1 diabetes need constant access to insulin for survival.

“If they don't give her the right to give her insulin that could've been dangerous for her because you need it to live. It's a necessity,” she said.