Two weeks ago, we posted footage of what can happen if strangers aren’t aware of your condition. Now we ask the question: do your family members know how to react in a diabetic emergency?

Reece and Tony McGhee
Reece and dad Tony McGhee with PCs Giles Lamb, Mark Sutton and Darren Searle, who was first to the scene of the crash -

Luckily for Tony McGhee, his 12-year-old son knew exactly what to do when he had a hypoglycemic episode whilst driving. The pair were heading through the Medway Tunnel toward Gillingham when Reece McGhee noticed his dad was falling out of consciousness. Now most of us in this situation would panic, but the brave boy used his initiative to stay calm and put on the car’s hazard lights and stop the car by putting it in to neutral and putting on the hand break.

Reece told KentOnline: “I felt like there was something wrong when we missed our turning and at the top of Frindsbury Hill he stalled, and that never happens. We went round the roundabout, went left going down to the tunnel and slammed into the wall. I was crying; I was scared. He slowed down and I put it the car in neutral and put the hand brake up. Some people were behind us and they didn’t stop. They kept driving by; that upset me.”

Other drivers had also noticed Tony’s erratic driving and had called the police after becoming concerned that he was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Tony also told KentOnline: “He knew something was wrong as we had veered across the road. I remember him asking me, ‘dad, dad, are you OK?’, but I don’t remember much more; I’d flaked out by this time. Apparently we mounted the kerb and then hit the wall and then hit the other wall and scraped both sides of the car, but Reece then managed to pull up the hand brake and stopped us.”

Tony is a type 1 diabetic and had taught his children and other family members the potential dangers of his condition and was extremely proud of how his son had coped. “We have talked about what to do in an emergency but like most parents, never expected he would ever have to act so bravely”, he also added.

It is recommended that all people with diabetes to discuss their condition at length with their friends and family in case of emergency. Some things they will need to know and look out for are:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired mobility (struggling to walk properly, staggering etc.)
  • Seizures, fitting
  • Aggressiveness
  • Pale skin
  • Confusion

Your friends & family will also need to know how to deal with this. Often, time is of the essence when someone is having a hypo.

  • If the person is conscious, give them something sweet to drink. This will be absorbed by their body very quickly. If the person is confused, they will probably be more likely to want a drink than something to eat.
  • Glucose gel can work well for someone who’s having a hypoglycemic attack. Some people with diabetes will carry around an emergency kit containing this.
  • If the person is unconscious, you shouldn’t be giving them anything by mouth due to the risk of choking.
  • If they are unconscious, you will most likely want to lie them on their side and stay with them if possible.
  • If the person is fitting, you should call an ambulance as soon as possible

Read more about hypoglycemia here: ')}

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