Diabetic man died weeks after falling into a coma


A MAN with severe diabetes fell into a coma and died around two months later, an inquest heard.

Darren Charnock had been drinking with his dad in the hours before his collapse and went to bed complaining of feeling unwell.

The 33-year-old was found by his dad, David, with whom he lived in Turner Street, Leigh.

He was rushed to hospital but never regained consciousness and died in Wigan Infirmary last November.

The Wigan coroner heard how Mr Charnock died of aspiration due to brain damage caused by the hypoglycaemic attack.

He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 13-year-old and had since had to take daily injections of insulin.

The construction worker was invited to attend annual check-ups to monitor his diabetes but sometimes failed to attend these appointments.

Diabetes specialist, Margaret Fletcher, explained to the hearing that all diabetes patients are advised to eat regularly, namely three meals per day, and to preferably avoid alcohol. If they do consume alcohol diabetic patients are advised to ensure they eat before going to bed.

Mr Charnock had spent the previous day, Sunday September 25, socialising, playing snooker and watching football in a pub with his dad.

He had drunk around seven or eight pints of lager and had eaten a meal around 4pm before they both returned home at 7pm.

He went to bed an hour later after complaining of feeling unwell.

Mr Charnock senior said: “He didn’t eat or drink anything else when we arrived home. Darren wouldn’t usually go to bed at that time but I didn’t think anything of it, he just said he didn’t feel well.”

His mum, Denise Morris, told the court that he had been complaining of violent headaches for up to three months before the attack.

After his collapse, he was admitted to Wigan Infirmary where he was monitored by doctors. He began to show positive signs of recovery when he became more alert and started to respond to voices, and was transferred to the Taylor Unit in Leigh for a couple of weeks on October 10. But he relapsed and was moved back to Wigan on October 24 where he remained until his death.

Pathologist Dr Stephen Wells said: “A large amount of alcohol can lead to a hypoglycaemic attack. It has been well recognised on patients before.”

Returning a narrative verdict, Wigan coroner Alan Walsh said: “He was sadly and tragically diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 13 and from then onwards was going to be dependant upon insulin. A life-long dependance is difficult but in someone so young it’s extremely difficult. Like any young person he probably wanted to be out with mates and just to lead a normal life.

“Living such a controlled lifestyle would be extremely difficult for anybody of that age. I am extremely sorry he had that condition and had to lead that lifestyle. On many occasions he was lulled into a false sense of security.

“He had alcohol in the past with not enough food and he had survived and not been in danger. But the fact he had pints every weekend lulled him into that false sense of security. Darren continued to lead this lifestyle which sadly led to his primary cause of death.”

Mrs Morris told the court she was grateful for the treatment her son received and thanked the doctors who helped him.