The 14 November marks World Diabetes Day in the UK. The aim is to raise awareness of what sadly is becoming an increasingly prevalent disease affecting people from all walks of life.

According to the Diabetes UK website, almost 3.7 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in the UK in 2017 and a further 12.3 million people are at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious condition in which the body’s ability to break down glucose (sugar) in the blood is impaired due to the body’s inability to produce insulin. Individuals with high blood sugar levels often have the following symptoms;

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Breath that smells sweet or fruity

It perhaps is not surprising that a rising incidence of diabetes has resulted in a rise in clinical negligence claims. Areas of concern include ignoring abnormal urine or blood test results and delays in diagnosis. Failure to manage diabetes appropriately can have devastating consequences including the need to have limbs amputated and in some cases, death.

In the case of Dr Bala Kovvali (2013), Mrs Fellows called the out of hours service after her husband became restless and started to drink huge quantities of water. Dr Kovvali attended upon Mr Fellows at his home but did not examine him and, having been aware of his previous medical history of anxiety and depression, advised him to speak to his GP about managing his mental health. Mr Fellows died less than nine hours later. A Court heard that any competent doctor would have recognised the classic diabetic symptoms, which in turn would have led them to check a patient’s blood sugar levels. An emergency admission to hospital would then have been required. Dr Kovvali was jailed for two and half years for gross negligence manslaughter as the Court concluded that Mr Fellows’ death was preventable. A jail term is extremely unusual in clinical negligence cases, however this case serves as a stark reminder that the need to raise awareness about diabetes, within the medical profession and particularly within primary care continues to be very important.

Freeths solicitors have considerable experience with diabetes claims. Our expert solicitors can help you if you believe there has been a delay in diagnosis or a misdiagnosis of the symptoms of diabetes and this has resulted in an injury to you or a loved one. Our specialist team will be able to help you claim financial compensation for the injuries and losses that would otherwise have been avoided.

If you are concerned about care which you or a loved one have received, please contact a member of our national team for a free, informal discussion;

Siobhan Genever, Director (Nottingham/ Birmingham) on 0845 271 6793 or siobhan.genever@freeths.co.uk

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes) 0186 578 1019 carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent) on 0845 274 6830 karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester/Nottingham) on 0845 272 5724 or jane.williams@freeths.co.uk

For further information please also visit our website at: http://www.freeths.co.uk/legal-services/individuals/clinical-negligence/