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Hospital staff urged to improve knowledge to avoid diabetes-related hospital mistakes

Two Scottish women with type 1 diabetes are calling for hospital staff to be better trained in treating the condition after they both became seriously ill during their stay.
Joanna Traynor, 47, woke from an eye operation in Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital and was violently sick. She had not been given any insulin, despite warning staff she would need somen, which caused high levels of ketones in her blood.
A similar experience of not having insulin happened to Nicole Scottsville, 31, when she was admitted to St John’s Hospital in Livingston. She was eight months pregnant at the time and staff managed her insulin intake.
Speaking to the Daily Record newspaper, the 31-year-old said: “The nurse removed my sliding scale [insulin] so I could go to the toilet and when I returned she said she would reattach it but I fell asleep because I was so unwell and she didn’t return until over five hours later.”
In Joanna’s case, her pump was removed before her operatio, leaving her without any back-up insulin.
She said: “I removed my insulin pump before theatre and told the anaesthetist I had no background insulin working. I woke up and couldn’t catch my breath. I was being sick and had pads over both eyes for the next 14 hours.
“I had to get them to find my meter and strips that I use to check – all while being sick, unable to see or breathe and begging for insulin.”
A programme to improve healthcare professionals’ knowledge of diabetes and treatment for the condition has been developed by Diabetes Scotland. Health boards are being encouraged to follow the initiative in a bid to avoid short-term diabetes-related complications, such as hypoglycemia and ketoacidosis, when people are staying in hospital.
Acting national director Claire Fleming said: “We champion the new inpatient care programme which provides diabetes training and ensures healthcare teams understand the condition and how to manage it.”
A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “We are very sorry to hear that Ms Traynor was unhappy with the care she received.”

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