Saturday 23 February 2019

'It's so important to look after diabetes properly', says dad of tragic Graeme

Graeme Skerrett
Graeme Skerrett

The family of a 24-year-old Dubliner who died after neglecting his diabetes has warned others with the condition to take greater care.

The parents of Graeme Skerrett, of Belgard Heights, Tallaght, believe he lost his life because he was not aware of how seriously ill he was.

"Graeme was a really popular lad. His friends loved him, he is missed," his father, Anthony, told Dublin Coroner's Court.

"We don't want anyone else to die like this. It is so important to look after this condition properly."


Graeme, who loved GAA and worked at a hotel in Newlands Cross, died after his blood sugars rose to dangerously high levels because he was not taking his insulin. He had been diagnosed as an insulin dependent diabetic at the age of six.

In the months before his death, he had been neglecting his condition, the court heard.

"He was managing as he went along," his father said.

"He wasn't consistent. We were onto him, myself and his mother, encouraging him to get the insulin pump therapy, but he didn't want the inconvenience of it."

The court heard Anthony drove his son to a friend's home on September 18, 2016, the last time he saw him alive.

"He was in good form. His plan was to come home that night or the next day, he wasn't 100pc sure," said Anthony.

Graeme was drinking with friends that night and continued the following day. On the Tuesday, his breathing was laboured and he stayed in bed all day. A friend said he thought Graeme had drunk a bottle of coke and some water that day.

Friends tried to rouse him on September 21, but he did not respond.

An ambulance was called at 12.25pm and he was taken to Tallaght Hospital where he arrived in cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead at 1.07pm.

The cause of death was diabetic ketoacidosis, according to a post-mortem report.

"Diabetic ketoacidosis is a potentially lethal condition, the result of diabetes out of control," said coroner Dr Myra Cullinane.

"In order to use sugar, the body needs insulin. If there's no insulin, the body breaks down fat, and the by-product of this is acid. As your blood becomes more acid, your system begins to break down."

She added that sugar highs are equally as dangerous as sugar lows.

"The problem with insulin dependent diabetes is you have to be disciplined, and it's very hard," the coroner said, returning a verdict of death due to natural causes.

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