« Like the Weather. | Main | Early Weekend. »

Diabetes Undetected: Emma Douglas.

Sad news from The Times Online

"A female Royal Navy officer with a promising career before her was left to die on the floor of her cabin because colleagues thought she was drunk.

An inquest jury blamed a series of mistakes yesterday for the death of 29-year-old Lieutenant Emma Douglas in a diabetic coma when her life could easily have been saved."

Emma was found on the floor of her cabin, deep in the throes of DKA due to her undiagnosed type 1 diabetes.  According to the article, after losing weight and diagnosed with oral thrush, "The doctor advised her to rest and return if the symptoms persisted but failed to suggest a urine test for diabetes."  On the day she slipped into a coma, a midshipman who saw her on the floor assumed she was drunk and closed the door without checking on her.  She died soon thereafter. 

People desperately need to be educated about the symptoms of diabetes, and the symptoms of high and low blood sugar.  If the doctors and shipmates of Emma had been more aware, they could have saved her life. 

My thoughts and prayers are with Emma's family today. 

Comments

This is so sad. I'm upset for her family... It could have been prevented.

the oral thrush comment did me in. That was my little guy, losing weight with a bad case of oral thrush.

I wish I could give her family a hug.

Sigh. So needless.

This is terrible and extremely sad. I can't believe the doctor, you would think at least he/she would have known the signs. Her poor family, it's so devastating and could have been prevented.

That is awful. I feel for that family.

I agree that more medical personnel need to be trained in the signs of diabetes. I got sent home with a case of seasonal depression at the height of my diagnostic case of DKA. Luckily mom was around and knew something was wrong, and it certainly wasn't seasonal depression.

My thoughts are with Emma's family.

This is crazy. My 3 year olds ped sent us home twice saying it was a virus. Finally after researching on our own, we asked them to check. LO and behold, sent us immediately to the hospital. If I can figure it out with out a medical degree why can't the doctors! Insane.

How sad. I hope something is learned from this. By the midshipman who saw her last, by the doctor who misdiagnosed her, and by all the people who read about it.
That's the only way anything good could possibly come of this.

That is horrible. Absolutely, positively.

My son was recently diagnosed with type 1 while on duty in Iraq. Lucky for him he is a medical professional himself and knew something was up. Even with that, he was in ketoacidosis when they medevaced him to a hospital. To hear this chills my blood and makes me very sad for that young woman and her family.

Also I want to thank you. Your blog has helped me to understand what's happening with my son and how I can help without being such a MOTHER about it, with your knowledge and links that help tamed this beast in my mind. I was told about your blog by another mother of a young adult with type 1. And so simply, Thank You.

wow...that is horrible...im kind of speachless..my heart goes out to Emma's family and friends.
Hopefully this loss will help more people who could have helped..get educated.

This horrible story should also serve as a reminder to law enforcement and fire and rescue professionals that an incoherent or non-responsive person might not be drunk and accounting for possible low blood sugar is a must!

Send this to everyone you know. Hopefully they will think twice about how serious diabetes can be.

I was sent home by a GP two weeks before I landed in the ER with a blood sugar over 750. I had lost 15 pounds, had an actively infected abscess, and mentioned being "very, very tired." Unfortunately my blood sugar drawn at that appointment was just 96, so diabetes was ruled out.

I wish my doctor had dug a little deeper and not just brushed my health off as "senioritis," but it seems like that is all too easy to do. So sorry to hear about this :(

That is so tragic.

I bet her age, was part of the problem. No one looks for DKA in someone over 25. Even after I was admitted to the ER at age 29, it was hours before they ran that simple blood test.

I just posted something similar on my blog `www.crebcycle.blogspot.com' Both of these stories bring on tears because both could and should have been prevented.

When my son was diagnosed, I told our family doctor all of his symptoms, without actually saying the word 'diabetes' I knew what my son had. The doc kind of 'poo-poo'ed' me. I told him that he would be talking to me within the hour (after the labs). He said go home (this was a Friday). That was with 2+ glucose and trace to mod ketones in his urine. But it was better than the pediatricians office who couldn't see us until 4 days later. How is it that I knew what he had, and a physician didn't see it?

What a tragedy. I hope her life and death can shed light on the importance of diabetes awareness and symptoms.

I'm so sad. :( My brother went off to basic training and a few weeks later I had an incredibly vivid nightmare that he wasn't diagnosed with DKA. (I have type 1)

I'll be thinking about her family.

My heart really goes out to the family. I am hypoglycemic (found out about a month ago). However I have had the symptoms for years.I am some what scared. My blood sugar drops. I have been cheking it reagular and it has dropper down to the 50's and it's almost never go above 72. If you have any advice please e-mail me.

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)