Diabetic in coma left for hours on train

A DIABETIC woman was trapped for four hours in a locked carriage of a train after lapsing into a life-threatening coma on a busy commuter line.

Yesterday, Great Eastern, which operates the rail line between London and Southend, Essex, launched an inquiry into the incident.

Susan Kelly, 33, an insulin-dependent diabetic who needs four injections a day, said she could have died after she fell into a coma during her journey home and the train was shunted into a deserted siding.

It wasn't until the train was taken back into the station to be cleaned four hours later that she was able to open the sliding doors and stagger out.

"When I came to, I was drifting in and out of consciousness," said Miss Kelly, an accountant from Leigh-on-Sea. "I was aware of other trains passing by but I couldn't raise the alarm or make contact with anyone. At first, I wasn't scared but then the seriousness of my plight began to sink in and I realised I could die. I have to travel on trains to get to and from work but now I find it a traumatic experience.

"Staff should check all carriages before they are locked - it's one thing if someone is drunk and asleep but it is a far more serious if someone had fallen ill."

It was Miss Kelly's father, Brian, a retired businessman, who raised the alarm after she failed to turn up for dinner. "We checked with the station and the rail operators and even the transport police," said Mr Kelly. "But there had been no delays and no one had been taken ill on a train.

"Susan has lived with diabetes for more than 20 years and she has developed strategies to cope. She wears a Medi-alert bracelet, carries a diabetes card and always has insulin and sweets with her for emergencies." But despite all these precautions it wasn't until four hours later that she was found by the cleaners. "Other passengers may have thought she was asleep or drunk but a simple common sense check would have shown that she was in a coma," said Mr Kelly.

Miss Kelly's ordeal happened on 11 August after she got onto the 5.45pm train from London's Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria station, where she parks her car every morning before catching the train to London. "We checked and found her car there and that is when we really began to worry," added Mr Kelly.

"The train would have got there around 7pm but was 10.45pm before it was moved back into the station for cleaning." Mr Kelly said he had not had a reply from the rail operator despite making a complaint the day after the incident.

Great Eastern yesterday gave Miss Kelly a full apology and announced an investigation. "Trains are usually checked by staff before they are put into sidings because people do sometimes fall asleep on their journey and miss their station," said the company's spokesman. "We are trying to find out if it was done on this occasion. Our processes are now being reviewed and the matter is being investigated at director level because we do take our responsibility seriously."

A spokesman for the British Diabetic Association, said some people had symptoms before they went into a hypoglycaemic coma, like sweating or seeming disorientated. "But if she did not have the symptoms, it may well have looked like she was just falling asleep."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'