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Woman rescued from Broads cruiser after falling into diabetic coma

PUBLISHED: 14:09 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:09 10 July 2018

Emergency services rescued a woman who had fallen into a diabetic coma at St Olaves Marine. Photo: HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold.

Emergency services rescued a woman who had fallen into a diabetic coma at St Olaves Marine. Photo: HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold.

Archant

Emergency services combined to rescue a "completely unresponsive" woman who had fallen into a diabetic coma while aboard a Broads cruiser.

Emergency services rescued a woman who had fallen into a diabetic coma at St Olaves Marine. Photo: HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold.Emergency services rescued a woman who had fallen into a diabetic coma at St Olaves Marine. Photo: HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold.

Coastguard rescue teams from Lowestoft and Gorleston assisted ambulance crews at St Olaves Marina, near Beccles, at around noon yesterday to assist the 38-year-old.

The woman’s partner had initially raised the alarm after he was unable to wake her.

Coastguard rescue officer David Burwood said: “Initially he thought she was sleeping but was unable to bring her round.

“When we arrived the woman was completely unresponsive and was being treated in the cabin by the ambulance crew.

“Their priority was to bump glucose into her to get her blood sugar levels up.”

When the coastguard arrived the woman’s blood sugar level was registering at just 0.8mmol (millimoles per litre).

Mr Burwood added: “That is extremely low. It’s concerning when you get anything lower than 4mmol.”

As the ambulance crew treated the woman her blood sugar levels repeatedly rose then crashed dramatically making it difficult to move her off the vessel into the waiting ambulance.

Mr Burwood explained the complications involved when transporting a patient in a comatose state.

He said: “I hate to use the term but it is like moving a ‘dead weight’; there is no movement whatsoever from the person so it is extremely difficult to move them.

“The teams liaised with the ambulance service and arranged three different extraction routes depending on if the casualty’s condition changed.

“A decision was made and the teams put into place the extraction once the ambulance service said to go.

“Thankfully ambulance crews managed to bring her glucose levels high enough and she was able to walk with assistance off the boat.”

The woman was transported to the ambulance before her blood sugar “dramatically dropped again” and was taken to James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

The coastguard team were stood down at 1.45pm.

Mr Burwood said the woman was lucky to have been moored at the time of the incident and offered advice for those who could suffer a similar emergency while out on the water.

He said: “The best thing to do is use channel 16 and request the coastguard and ambulance then head to the nearest port.”

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