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Family Of Diabetes Patient Left With Brain Injury After Hospital ‘Mismanaged’ Condition Speak Out For Diabetes Week

Loved Ones Mark Diabetes Week With Call For Lessons To Be Learned

15.06.2018

James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

The family of a diabetes patient who is thought to have suffered a brain injury after an NHS Trust failed to properly manage her condition are marking this year’s Diabetes Week by calling on hospitals to learn lessons from her case.

Diabetes Week takes place every year in June, this year’s week begins June 11th. It’s organised by Diabetes UK and is a time when people come together to share their stories and to help raise awareness of diabetes.

Mavis Walsh, 76 from Eccles, was admitted to Salford Royal Hospital at the start of October 2015 after suffering what her family believed was a reaction to a recent flu jab.

Her family were not informed of any changes to her insulin dosage following the stay, but they had noticed afterwards that she seemed more lethargic than usual. However, they were left stunned when just weeks later she was found in a diabetic coma.

Mavis suffered a brain injury as a result of the incident and a subsequent internal investigation by Salford Royal NHS Trust concluded that ‘an excessive increase’ in her insulin dose had been recommended during her discharge from hospital without any necessary support being put in place.

Now, after instructing specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care Mavis received, her loved ones are calling for NHS Trusts to use Diabetes Week as a reminder of the need to ensure that the best possible care is always provided to those with the condition.

Mark Havenhand, the legal expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office who is acting for Mavis’s family, said: 

Expert Opinion
“We are hugely concerned by the first-hand account we have heard regarding this case, with an active and healthy woman suffering a devastating injury from which she will never fully recover.

“Diabetes is a condition which affects a large number of people and requires delicate and precise management. Patients place great faith in medical experts that they will get the right support and a case of this nature may only serve to undermine that trust.

“The issues raised are a great worry and we are thoroughly investigating the circumstances related to it. The ultimate aim is that lessons can be learned which will ensure such problems never arise again in the future.”
Mark Havenhand, Partner

Mavis has had diabetes since the early 1990s but she was hospitalised at Salford Royal on October 7th 2015 when she was suffering from a temperature and was disorientated.

The NHS Trust has so far denied liability, stating there was no “excessive dose” of insulin and whilst it has conceded that Mavis was discharged prematurely, meaning she left the hospital without the effects of the increase insulin dose being seen or monitored, it denies that this has any causative significance.  

Her daughter, Elizabeth Lupton, 38, from Worsley, said: “Mum was in a really bad way but we had all just assumed it was from a reaction to a flu jab.

“We went on holiday together shortly afterwards and we did notice she was not herself. There was even an occasion when she fell out of bed unconscious. It was horrible seeing her like that and when we got home we tried to get in touch with her consultant, but struggled to reach him.”

The problems Mavis was enduring came to a head when on October 31st her husband Kevin Walsh, 71, found her unresponsive in bed. It subsequently emerged that she was in a diabetic coma, with the condition causing her to suffer a brain injury.

Elizabeth added: “It has been incredibly difficult seeing how the injury has affected Mum. She was always very active and used to look after my son on several days a week, but now she needs regular carer support herself in order to do even the most basic tasks like getting dressed. She also cannot retain information and has a really low attention span.

“While nothing can change what she has been through, we do want answers for what happened.”

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