Quick-thinking mum to the rescue after diabetic girl taken ill on school trip

Back (left to right) Jean Hilton, Christine Edwardson and Joanne Hilton. Front (left to right) Oliver Hilton, 7, and Abbygail Hilton
Back (left to right) Jean Hilton, Christine Edwardson and Joanne Hilton. Front (left to right) Oliver Hilton, 7, and Abbygail Hilton

A WIGAN youngster has thanked a school helper whose quick-thinking almost certainly saved her life.

Abbygail Hilton was on a school trip to Manchester with Hindley Junior and Infant School when parent helper Christine Edwardson - herself a diabetic - noticed she was showing signs of diabetes. Christine, 41, a community fund-raiser for Wigan and Leigh Hospice, told Abbygail’s grandma Jean Hilton to take her immediately to hospital where doctors diagnosed her with diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition.

Jean, 63, said: “I picked Abbygail up from her school trip and Christine said she’d been watching her and was concerned.

“Christine had her diabetes testing kit with her and took a reading of Abby’s blood sugar levels which were 31 at first and 33 on the second reading.

“When she got to the hospital they said they didn’t expect her to be walking - they said they’ve never seen a child so poorly stood up.”

A reading above 17 is considered to be dangerously high and can lead to coma or death without treatment.

Keen swimmer and dancer Abbygail was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in hospital and spent two days on a high dependency ward receiving one to one care. Doctors say Christine’s swift action prevented the youngster from going into a hyperglycemic coma. Mum Joanne, 35, said: “The doctor kept on saying her readings showed that nothing in her body was functioning as it should be but her only symptom was that she was really thirsty.

“Every doctor said we really needed to thank the mum that told us Abby was ill because when she came into hospital she was between six and ten hours from going into a coma.

“If Christine hadn’t stepped in I would have put her to bed early and I dread to think what might have happened. The doctor said she would have gone rapidly downhill.”

Christine said: “As soon as I saw Abbygail I thought she had lost weight and she was really thirsty. I knew she was poorly because she reminded me of how I was when I was diagnosed with diabetes.

“When I got her reading of 33 I tried to keep them calm and told them to go to the hospital. It’s a very serious illness and people don’t always realise this.” Christine’s son Kian now sits near to Abbygail at school as he recognises the symptoms that mean Abbygail’s blood sugar levels have dropped.

Abbygail, who now has five injections of insulin every day, said: “Christine came around when I got home from hospital and we gave her some flowers. I made her a card to thank you very much.”

Joanne, a legal assistant, added: “Abbygail has not let her diabetes bother her, she still swims and dances and now she’s educating everybody at school about her diabetes.”