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Blackburn coroner raps ‘chaos’ over diabetic death
9:14am Monday 28th April 2014 in News
A CORONER has raised questions over the ‘chaotic’ treatment of a diabetic man who died from a hypoglycaemic attack.
Simon Neil Eatough, 47, died at Royal Blackburn Hospital after a period in and out of hospital.
At an inquest, Blackburn coroner Michael Singleton said he would write to the hospital about its procedures if he felt its practices were likely to cause a risk of further deaths.
Blackburn Coroner's Court heard Mr Eatough was first diagnosed with diabetes on July 23 after being admitted to hospital. The exact type had not been determined.
He was discharged at around 5pm but by midnight he had been readmitted.
He was discharged again two days later into the care of district nurses, diabetic nurses and his GP. On July 29 he was admitted to hospital with chest pains, vomiting and he had seen blood in his vomit but he was discharged the next day.
The inquest heard he struggled to administer insulin at home due to his alcohol dependency. On August 7, he was taken to the emergency department at Blackburn after suffering a hypoglycaemic attack.
He was discharged but two days later, on August 9, he suffered another attack which caused an irreversible brain injury and his condition deteriorated. He was found unresponsive by his mother, Jean.
Three days earlier, his mother had expressed concerns that he was not managing his diabetes and she had asked for him to be kept in hospital until he stopped drinking but she was told this was unlikely to happen.
Consultant Dr Margaret Christian, who treated Mr Eatough, told the inquest his condition was ‘very serious’ and said the diabetes was not well-managed.
Mr Eatough, of Marsden Road, Burnley, was given medicine to control the symptoms of his alcohol dependency while on the ward, and the hearing was told that, when sober, he was able to correctly administer insulin and test his blood sugar levels.
Recording a verdict of misadventure, Mr Singleton said: “I am required in law to consider if there are a set of circumstances that exist where there is a risk of further fatalities.
“It seems there was chaos. It seems totally chaotic. If there is a system it is not obvious to me.”
Ian Stanley, interim executive medical director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We review the case notes of all patients who have died and will consider our findings in conjunction with the coroner’s findings and associated actions.
“In particular, we will look at communication between the trust and GPs and staff divisions.”
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