Man who lost his leg to diabetes dies after glucose levels turn fatal

A man who has been living with diabetes since the age of 13 and lost his leg for it, died after his blood sugar levels spiked, an inquiry has been heard. Neil Swan, a painter and decorator, has struggled to manage his diabetes since adolescence.

Neil, 36, originally from Boston, Lincolnshire, and Preston, Lancashire, died when his leg was amputated due to complications related to his diabetes. They were fitted with a Freestyle Libre Arm sensor, which allowed their phone to alert them when their blood sugar had gone too low or rose too high.

However, Preston coroner’s court interrogation revealed that he had experienced multiple hyperglycaemic and hypoglycaemic episodes over the five weeks that led to him being found dead at his home in Ashton-on-Ribble in February. Within hours of talking to her on the phone, her mother, Karen Isthum, found her unresponsive – she had slurred speech, which could be a symptom of high blood sugar, Report LancsLive,

In diabetes, hypoglycaemia, known as a ‘hypo’, occurs when the level of glucose in the blood becomes too low; Usually below 4mmol/L, and it is treated by eating or drinking something sweet. Hyperglycaemia, in contrast, occurs when blood sugar levels are too high; Usually above 7mmol/L, and can be corrected by taking insulin.

Both can lead to death, with low blood sugar levels causing diabetic coma and high blood sugar levels leading to ketoacidosis, where acid builds up in the blood. In the evening of that day, Mrs. Eastam went to her son’s house and found him lying on the bed. Paramedics were called, but Neil was pronounced dead.

Summarizing the circumstances of Neil’s death, Area Coroner Chris Long said: “He had Addison’s disease and type 1 diabetes when he was 13 years old. His left leg was amputated and also suffered from a foot ulcer. He had several hypoglycaemic episodes in the weeks before his death.

“A few hours before his death, he spoke to his mother on the phone and abused him a bit. After that he could not be contacted, so his mother went to his address and found him unresponsive.”

In a statement, Neil’s mother, who was accompanied by questioning by her husband Gregory, said her son struggled to manage his diabetes and was equipped with arm sensors that helped him control the disease. Was ‘a lot of help’. The sensor, which is attached to the arm via a thin needle that goes into the bloodstream, records blood sugar levels via an app on a patient’s smartphone and if their blood glucose is below or above a predetermined level. If you go, the alarm sounds.

During interrogation, it was revealed that on February 14, Neil had a hypoglycaemic episode, which was corrected after taking glucose sachets. The next day in the early hours of the morning he called his mother because he felt he was experiencing another episode, but he failed to press the right option to opt out of his call guardian system.

The coroner read from the statement, “Mrs. Eastam spoke to her on February 14 at 1.47 pm after she was not feeling well.” “He looked sad, but he said he was fine. She was trying to contact him from 5 pm to 7 pm, so she went around his bungalow and he was lying on his bed “

Rachel Singleton, who had been Neil’s diabetic nurse since 2021, assisted the coroner by interpreting the readings on his Libre arm sensor in the days before his death. She noted that in the two weeks prior to February 17 she noted “instability in glucose levels” – which shows elevated glucose levels over a long period of time – and there were also occasions when there was a sudden drop in glucose levels.

A few hours before Neil was found dead, his glucose level was recorded at 26.6mmol/L and 27.8mmol/L. Neil’s glucose was also above 21 between midnight February 16 and 8 a.m. on February 17.

“It is impossible to know how soon Mr Swan would have died following the hyperglycaemic readings,” the nurse said in her report. “It is possible that he has recovered, although the overall outcome for the foreseeable future will remain poor.”

Returning to the natural causes conclusion, the coroner said: “It is clear that Neil was struggling to manage his diabetes. It is also clear to me that there is support in trying to help Neil manage his diabetes.” have been found.

“Unfortunately, as you know all too well, diabetes can result in a severe and quick reaction and that’s the harsh reality that scares me. Here, there may be other possibilities around what happened to Neil. , but looking at the evidence as a whole I am satisfied that it was a hyperglycaemic episode that led to Neil’s death. The readings are high and quite high. The prognosis for Neil under those circumstances is poor.”

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