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Diabetics Suffering Complications Because Of Poor Medical Care

A recent study carried out by the National Diabetes Audit has shown due to poor standards of care, diabetics are suffering avoidable complications such as heart attacks, amputations and kidney failure.

Managing diabetes The Diabetes National Service Framework

Diabetes is a condition that affects nearly four million people in the UK. It occurs when the body does not produce any (or enough) insulin, meaning that glucose cannot be broken down. This leaves too much sugar in the bloodstream, which can seriously damage the body's organs. Consequently diabetes does increase the risk of heart attack, angina, stroke and amputation.

However, such complications can be prevented, just so long as the condition is properly controlled. Medical professionals must help people with the diabetes to control their blood glucose levels, and help minimise the risk of future complications developing. To ensure medical professionals know how to achieve these objectives, the Department of Health has set out national standards for NHS organisations to follow. This guidance which covers diabetes care and prevention is called the Diabetes National Service Framework. Amongst other things, it stipulates that good diabetes care will include:-

  • Access to information and appropriate support, including access to education programmes;
  • An agreed care plan to ensure a diabetic sufferer can maintain a healthy lifestyle;
  • Information, care and support to enable a diabetic sufferer to control their glucose levels, blood pressure, and minimise other risks factors;
  • Access to services that will help identify and treat possible complications often associated with diabetes, including screening for diabetic retinopathy and foot care;
  • High standards of care for any diabetic admitted to hospital.

Poor diabetic care leading to avoidable complications

But despite national standards being in place, a recent study found that failings in medical care are causing around 22,200 excess deaths each year. Furthermore, the number of complications being suffered by diabetics is far greater than would be expected, as the following statistics reveal:-

  • Risk of heart attack 48% higher than would be expected;
  • Risk of stroke 25% higher than would be expected;
  • Needing dialysis or kidney transplant 144% higher than would be expected;
  • Needing minor amputation (part of the foot) 331% higher than would be expected;
  • Needing major amputation (above or below the knee) 210% higher than would be expected.

A large number of these complications could, however, be prevented through better education, treatment and care. Therefore it seems that medical professionals are failing to meet national standards, causing diabetics to suffer as a result.

Has this happened to you?

If you or your loved one has suffered because medical professionals did not provide an acceptable standard of diabetic care, you could be entitled to claim compensation. To find out more, contact a medical negligence solicitor without delay.

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