Diabetics urged not to delay seeking help ahead of World Diabetes Day

11th November 2020 Clinical Negligence

The 14 November marks World Diabetes Day.  This is a time to raise awareness of diabetes and the effects on those living with the condition. . This year the theme is “The Nurse and Diabetes” and further information can be access here. Earlier this year I drafted a brief article on the increase of diabetes in the UK and the potentially catastrophic consequences the increasing numbers have for the NHS. Diabetes UK (a leading charity) highlights that more than five million people will have diabetes by 2025. It’s a sobering and alarming statistic.    

Perhaps now, the significance of this has never been more apparent given the recent lockdown, winter ahead and the pressure on an increasingly stretched NHS.  For those suffering with diabetes, it remains of paramount importance that they seek treatment where they believe their health to be at risk or a problem to be occurring. For instance, the consequences for untreated infections can be very serious indeed and in my career I have unfortunately pursued cases where something as innocuous as a cut to the foot has resulted in an amputation to the leg.  This seems incomprehensible to most of us, but for those living with diabetes, it continues to be a very real threat.   

Further, with the onset of Covid19, the threat to health is even more real, as those with diabetes face a significantly greater risk of death, according to the NHS.  The health service has set up useful signposting guidance and have highlighted the importance of the “4T’s”:

  •  - “The 4Ts – toilet, thirsty, tired and thinner – are signs of a life-threatening diabetic emergency, diabetic ketoacidosis or ‘DKA’. If you recognise these signs, seek urgent medical advice from your GP Practice (or 111 out of hours); if you already have diabetes, contact your Diabetes team; or if you feel very unwell, call 999.”

World Diabetes Day highlights the importance of the Nurse, and I would reiterate that message.  Ancillary care and district nurse care are frequently the key to managing this condition when complications occur – not least cuts, lacerations etc., which can frequently go unnoticed and untreated.  Prevention of injury is no doubt better than cure and I would urge anyone to seek prompt help through the NHS helpline if they have concerns about their own health or that of a loved one. 

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Mark Havenhand is a Partner located in Manchesterin our Clinical Negligence department

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