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Hospital saves boy with finger infection after diagnosing type 1 diabetes

An 11-year-old boy who was “screaming in pain” has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after a finger infection was initially blamed for him feeling so unwell.

Dylan Holliday’s mum took him to his GP when the tip of his finger became inflamed and red after she suspected he had bitten off too much nail.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper Kay, from Sheffield, said: “I was getting worried because he wasn’t getting any better – he wasn’t himself.

“I was afraid it could be sepsis, it never crossed my mind that it could be diabetes.”

Dylan’s condition deteriorated about a week after seeing his doctor with the schoolboy spending a night being sick before his family decided he need urgent help.

Kay said: “He was just feeling so unwell and he couldn’t even carry his own weight. The next morning he woke up in agony and we had to get him to hospital because I was afraid of what was happening to him.”

An ambulance was called and Dylan was admitted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where he was taken through to the resuscitation area in the Emergency Department.

Kay said: “He was just screaming out in pain and it was horrendous. When we got to the hospital he was falling in and out of consciousness, but you could tell he was in a lot of pain.

“He had four cannulas in his arms and he tried to rip them out. I’d never seen him like that before in my life – it was terrifying.”

A series of tests and scans were carried out which showed his blood sugar levels were dangerously high. The blood tests showed his sugar levels were nearly 30 millimoles per litre (mmol/L) and normal levels for a child should be between 4-7 mmol/L.

In addition, his ketone levels were also dangerously high and his heart rate shot up. By this time, Dylan’s mum said he had become “delusional and was seeing things”.

Doctors were able to diagnose him with type 1 diabetes, but Dylan lost consciousness and was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. Eventually his condition stabilised and he was moved to the High Dependency Unit.

Kay, who is a teaching assistant, said: “If we hadn’t brought him into hospital it doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened to him.

“It was such a whirlwind 24 hours – I felt every emotion you could possibly feel. But we want to warn other parents to look for the signs because this can happen to anyone.

“Dylan was a healthy boy, and doctors said it could happen to an athlete or a couch potato. But if left untreated, this can be fatal.”

She said the care the family received was “absolutely amazing from the moment we entered the Emergency Department”.

She added: “The compassion they showed, being able to listen to you sobbing and reassure you at your lowest moments, I’ll never forget that. They saved his life and I can’t thank them enough.”

After a five-day hospital stay, Dylan was able to go home and now he is recovering well and coming to terms with his diagnosis.

Kay added: “Our lives have now changed forever, we’re constantly learning about diabetes and the impact it will have on our lives, but the Diabetes Team have been amazing.”

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