"Their knowledge of type 1 diabetes wasn't great"

About: London Ambulance Service NHS Trust University College Hospital / Diabetic medicine

(as the patient),

I was down in London for a couple of days for work and had been feeling a bit iffy. The morning of my training I started being violently sick, and couldn't keep anything down. As I have type 1 diabetes, this is a pretty serious situation... If my sugar levels dropped I would need to eat something sugary to get them back up, and I was unable to keep anything down.

My work decided that the only option was phoning an ambulance for me. They came within 10 minutes (I think - I wasn't very with it at this point), and were straight onto testing my bloods and getting me to hospital. The paramedics were both great - friendly guys with huge amounts of empathy and understanding...one of them even had type 1 diabetes. I was admitted to the UCLH in Euston, London.

The hospital was very busy and it was a while before I was given a bed. However, everyone looking after me was very attentive and caring. The only thing that worried me was that their knowledge of type 1 diabetes wasn't great. I would even go as far as saying it was unacceptable. I was lucky enough to have a colleague from Diabetes UK with me, who has a background of nursing and so was able to ensure all the right tests were getting done, with my own diabetes kit.

If it wasn't for me taking control and testing my blood sugar regularly and checking my ketones, this wouldn't have been done for a few hours after being admitted. Even when they did finally get round to doing a ketone test on my urine - they were very slow to act upon a very high ketone reading, and even then, I had to explain to them why I thought I had high ketones yet a normal blood sugar.

As a type 1 diabetic, I often encounter ignorance and a misunderstanding towards this extremely complicated condition. I am used to it. However, hospital is a last resort for me, on the rare occasion that my diabetes does get the better of me, and it would be nice to say that I trust the people in hospital to be able to look after me. Although I was very happy with everyone's manner and attentiveness, I feel that if I hadn't have been able to tell them myself how I think the situation should have been handled, then I believe I would have been put at risk.

I will finish on a positive and conclude by saying that all staff were very honest and allowed me to speak, and gave me respect which I really appreciated. Well done to everyone involved.

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