Calls for lessons to be learned as complication of diabetes leaves naval diver with tracheostomy

  • Glyn Holgate has been speaking to ITV Meridian reporter Kerry Swain

A former Royal Navy diver who needed life-changing surgery after a hospital failed to recognise a dangerous complication of diabetes is calling for lessons to be learned.

Glyn Holgate needed a permanent tracheostomy after medics at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth treated him for gastroenteritis when a lack of insulin caused a life threatening build up of harmful substances in his blood.

Diving was Glyn's job and hobby for 22 years. But because of the permanent hole in his throat, he can no longer dive or swim.Glyn and his partner say the life changing surgery would not have been necessary if medics hadn't taken so long to diagnose a dangerous complication of diabetes called DKA where lack of insulin causes harmful substances called ketones to build up in the blood.

Glyn Holgate had a permanent tracheostomy fitted following emergency surgery in Portsmouth

Glyn says: "I was petrified, I was very scared, yes, I didn't know what was happening, I just knew that I wasn't right."Following the surgery he has now lost his lorry driving licence, his job in security and his dreams of diving holidays in retirement.He says: "If I'd have had them tests straight away when I went in then I would have been treated for DKA and I would have been out in three days.

"I wouldn't have been in intensive care, I wouldn't have been in a coma, intubated and had a tracheostomy and I would have been living my life as I always should have done."In a statement Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust said: "Our teams work hard every day to provide safe, compassionate care to the communities we serve.

"However we know we don't always get this right and apologise that not every patient has the positive experience we want to provide.

"When we haven't met the expectations of our patients and their families we take every action to learn and to improve."Glyn says he received wonderful care from nurses and the consultant who finally treated him but wants to share his story so medics can learn from it.

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