Diabetes is a well-known condition that many people die of every year worldwide as it can sometimes be difficult to detect early enough to receive an effective treatment to manage the condition.
Diabetes causes around 100 amputations a week and is also linked to one in 10 deaths. Screening is already being offered for diabetes retinopathy, an eye problem which can lead to blindness if left untreated. A failure to diagnose and treat diabetes may result in a number of medical complications to include heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, blindness, amputations and even death.
Hear Tim Spring talking about diabetes in the UK
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where glucose accumulates in the blood because of insufficient/faulty insulin production. Insulin enables cells to absorb glucose in order to turn it into energy.
There are three main types of diabetes known as Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes:
Type 1 is the least common type and is unpreventable. It occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin and has to be controlled with daily doses of insulin.
Type 2 is the more common condition and develops when the body can make some insulin but not enough. It is also when the insulin that is produced does not work properly. Read more here.
Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women and is high blood sugar levels during pregnancy . This normally clears up after the pregnancy.
There are a number of recognised symptoms of diabetes which include increased urinations, increased thirst and unexplained weight loss. Other symptoms can include fatigue, blurred vision, increased hunger and sores that do not heal. Early in the disease type 2 diabetes may present with no symptoms. Blood tests are used to diagnose diabetes. Laboratory analysis of blood is needed to ensure tests are accurate. Glucose measuring devices used in a healthcare providers office such as finger stick devices are not accurate enough for diagnosis but may be used as an a quick indicator of high blood glucose.
Testing enables healthcare providers to diagnose and treat diabetes before complications occur and to find and treat pre-diabetes which can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes from developing.
Unfortunately in some cases there may be a delay in diagnosis by a medical practitioner which was avoidable and may connote medical negligence.
Diabetes can lead to both short and long term complications. The long term complications are due to the high blood glucose levels damaging the blood vessels and causing chronic health conditions which include:
Cardiovascular disease (heart disease, stroke)
Eye disease - diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can lead to blindness if not treated
Amputations - foot damage, in particular nerve damage and poor blood flow increases the risk of foot complications, and sores and cuts can become infected leading to the risk of toe, foot and even leg amputation
Given the complications, it is vital to ensure that blood glucose levels are kept to as near normal as possible and importantly that appropriate education, monitoring and action is undertaken to prevent complications occurring or to treat complications early.
When should I contact a solicitor?
You or your family should contact a solicitor as soon as possible. The sooner we can commence work on your claim the sooner we can begin to assist you.
We can advise you on your benefit rights and also advise on dealing with debts which might arise due to being off work. Our specialist community care team can also provide advice on your entitlement to health and social care support at home during the continuance of your claim.
Can I claim compensation for my medical condition?
We may be able to help you with a claim for compensation where:
you have diabetes and following negligent medical care you have required amputation;
you have been diagnosed with diabetes but have later found out that you do not have the condition;
your relative has died as a result of late diagnosis resulting in treatment being unavailable and you have reason to believe that they should have been diagnosed earlier;
there has been a delay in diagnosis.
If you or a loved one has suffered unnecessary death or disability as a result of poor diabetes care, we would be happy to discuss the treatment and care you have received and advise you as to whether you may have a claim for compensation.
If you believe that you or someone you know has suffered as a result of medical negligence please contact Denise Deakin. We deal with clients throughout the country and we will visit you at your home, hospital or rehabilitation unit.