Hospital boss apologises over death of student from cardiac arrest

Hospital boss apologises after doctors dismissed student’s severe pain as a ‘panic attack’ only for the 18-year-old to die from a cardiac arrest caused by undiagnosed diabetes

  • Ben Glean, 18, died days after being sent home from a hospital in Grimsby
  • Doctors dismissed his severe pain as a ‘panic attack’ but he had diabetes
  • He went into cardiac arrest days later and his mother switched off life support
  • NHS trust boss Dr Peter Reading apologised for failings at a memorial service 

A hospital boss has apologised after an 18-year-old student died shortly after doctors dismissed his severe pain as a ‘panic attack.

Ben Glean suffered a fatal cardiac arrest last year due to undiagnosed type one diabetes just two days after being sent home from Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.

Medics failed to carry out a simple blood test which may have saved his life by identifying his condition.

After he was rushed back to hospital, doctors unaware of the diabetes then gave him fluids which can cause brain swelling in those with diabetes. 


Ben Glean, pictured, 18, died of a cardiac arrest caused by type one diabetes days after being sent home from hospital when he had severe pain

His mother Karen, pictured with Ben’s brother Michael Nwosu, left, and partner Jaime Lidgard, right, previously criticised doctors for dismissing his condition as a ‘panic attack’

Dr Peter Reading, chief executive of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has now apologised for ‘failing’ Mr Glean.

Speaking at a memorial service one year on from the death, Dr Reading, who had been in the job for four months when Mr Glean died, said: ‘I approach this with very mixed emotions – immense sadness, and for me humility.

‘Our hospital, when Ben needed us most, made some mistakes. I have formally apologised to his family.


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‘We feel a sense of shame about that. I would like to repeat that apology today.’

Mr Glean went to A&E at the hospital in Grimsby complaining of severe stomach pains, sickness and constipation on December 3, 2017, only to be told to go home. 

After his death, he was found be suffering from a deadly condition linked to type 1 diabetes called ketoacidosis – an illness which causes a build up of acidity in the blood.

An inquest into the circumstances of his death is still to conclude.

After his death Mr Glean, pictured with his partner, was found to be suffering from type one diabetes but doctors never diagnosed him

But his mother Karen has claimed the hospital failed her son.

Speaking to The Sun earlier this year, she said: ‘Ben started complaining about sickness so the doctors did an ECG, which found his heartbeat was erratic.

‘The doctors said they wanted to do a blood test but they never gave him one.

What is type 1 diabetes? 

Type 1 diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition where your blood glucose level is too high because the body cannot make a hormone called insulin. 

It has nothing to do with lifestyle and the exact cause is still unknown.

Without insulin, the body cannot properly process glucose and allow it to get into cells, causing a build-up in the bloodstream.

It can cause extreme tiredness, thirst and potentially fatal organ damage.

With insulin injection treatment, the condition can be managed to allow sufferers to live normal lives. 

Source: diabetes.org.uk 

‘At this point he couldn’t even lie down because he was in so much pain but the doctors just told him he was having a panic attack and advised we see the GP the next day to get some anxiety medication.’

On December 5 he went into cardiac arrest and was taken back to hospital. 

Mrs Glean then had to make the agonising decision to donate his organs and switch his life support machine off.

Mr Glean, who was studying at A-levels at Franklin College and hoped of becoming a police officer, died on December 8.

Dr Reading told his family and friends the Trust had learnt lessons from his death and changed a number of practices relating to type 1 diabetes that would hopefully ‘benefit patients for years to come’.

The memorial for Mr Glean was also attended by his brother Michael, aunt Andrea, partner Jaime, his school teachers and a legion of friends for a special service in the hospital chapel on Friday.

His mother used the meeting to thank Dr Reading and NHS trust chair Anne Shaw for their cooperation and support after Ben’s death.

It was revealed at the service that Make That Change, a trust set up in Ben’s memory, has so far distributed 60,000 symptom posters across the country and his website has been shared 100,000 times. 

Mr Glean died at Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, pictured, after his family switched off his life support

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