Diabetic guest falling ill - feedback!

We’ve just had a guest stay who in the evening had a diabetic episode, we had to call the emergency services (he hadn’t told us he was diabetic - I found his needles in the bedroom as I guessed) who wanted to take him to hospital but after some insulin and some food he refused - then when we got up in the morning he’d gone!

He’s now left some feedback, which of course we can’t see as we haven’t written his yet - we’re not sure what to say!!

If we hadn’t found him he could possibly have died (he’d have gone into a coma) - we were very surprised he did a runner - embarrassment maybe? (he has texted to say he’s okay).

Has this happened to anyone else?
What should I do about feedback?

thanks - been doing Airbnb for a few years and this is the first incident.

That’s a tough one, and I’m sure this experience sent you for a bit of a loop!

I think I would not mention anything about the incident in your public review, though I would definitely recommend to your guest in private feedback that he make his hosts aware of his condition in the future.

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I disagree. I see no reason a guest needs to disclose an illness in advance; it’s highly personal information. I’ve never disclosed my illnesses in advance of a stay, nor will I do so in future.

As for why the guest did a runner; because they’re hugely embarassed. This isn’t something to mention in anything other than private feedback. Personally though I think it a bit shoddy that even if he couldn’t face you, he didn’t think to send a message of thanks. I might have been tempted to do a runner but I would have messaged expressing thanks.


My sister was diabetic and had one of those episodes while traveling at a traditional b and b in Sonoma. As she aged she just wouldn’t travel overnight anymore. He almost certainly was embarrassed and/or thought he should just get back home as soon as possible. I agree with @Chloe that you shouldn’t put the incident in a public review but I would tell him he needs to inform hosts, particularly when he is traveling alone. I’d also tell Airbnb so they have a record of it. I recently had a guest who has cancer and is fairly old. I had some anxiety about this but everything went smoothly. She informed me in advance and I had the choice of whether to accept her as a guest as well as being prepared and making a few small changes in my routine.

If it were me I don’t think I’d leave any review. He clearly should have told you and this made for an unpleasant hosting experience but you can’t be disclosing his private medical history.

Was this guest scheduled to check out that day? Or did their reservation extend into additional nights?

He was scheduled to check out (later that day, he was gone before 7am) - but before the incident he had said that he wanted to return next week.

I’m 100% sure it was embarrassment, and I would never disclosure in public that he had a condition - but I do think he should at least carry something in his wallet or let hosts know what to do if he falls ill - it was a scary experience, especially for my teenage step-daughter.

We’ve now had a text from him saying thank you, and he’s asked to stay again - we will be saying yes now that we know the situation and how to deal with it.


You should ask him about his glucagon pen. It’s an emergency injector in cases where you can’t get them to eat or drink anything. Whenever he travels he should tell his hosts where it is or put it in their refrigerator. Some people won’t be comfortable using it but at least it’s there, the EMTs can use it if nothing else. If they are just out of it a little, disoriented and sweaty for example, you can give them some fruit juice and they will come back on their own. He probably won’t have another episode for awhile. After my sister would have one she’d be extra careful with blood monitoring for months afterward.

I have family who are diabetic, so when I realised that he was ill I went to look upstairs and found his injectors etc - but it seems he had other conditions too which complicated things and he was unable to communicate at the time.

Yes, we gave him fruit juice after the paramedic had stablised him. We’d happily have him back to stay, and I don’t think this has put us off - it was all just a bit of a strange experience.

What happens when one has a diabetic “episode”, as your guest did, and where did you find him?

It’s just that if something similar occurs around me, I might recognize what it is.

When I was in the 6th grade, a classmate (I still remember her name!) fell to the ground and had an epileptic seizure. The teacher forced a ruler between the girl’s teeth so she wouldn’t “bite her tongue off”. That, in itself, was frightening to hear…and the teacher somehow forced a sugar cube in the flailing girl’s mouth.

It was traumatizing to witness but at least I knew forevermore what an epileptic seizure was.

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Not addressed to me but I’ll answer as well. One of the first signs with my sister was that she would become sweaty/clammy. Then unresponsive/incoherent. Her eyes would be open and she’d be sitting up but not speaking or responding to questions. But she might also resist eating anything or having the glucagon pen used. Once, a stepson of hers said she was making a high pitched noise. He’d been trained to force canned frosting into her mouth, and he did. As soon as she appeared off she would be urged to eat something/check her blood sugar. If they are driving they will seem just like they are drunk. Another time my sister drove past her freeway exit and was about to drive into Mexico when somehow she got stopped and someone helped her call her husband.


@KKC -

Thank you so much, I had no idea.

It’s sobering for sure.


Thanks - I had no idea either!

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Normally I would agree with you completely and totally. And if this person had his blood sugar under control, I’d also agree with you. I believe, in this day and age, most people are able to mostly avoid episodes of low blood sugar through a combination of diet and medication. If they know or suspect they can’t, and they stay in someone’s home, I think they have a responsibility to let the host know.


The guest shouldn’t have left without saying anything. Just a quick text explaining what happened would have been adequate.

I’m sure many people would be afraid a host would decline to host them. But once they arrive, if they are traveling alone, they absolutely should disclose it. This could it be a matter of life or death for the guest and if they want to take the chance in their own home that’s one thing. But imagine the anguish of having a guest die in your home from a treatable condition. Imagine them leaving your home and them not seeming “quite right” but you just figure it’s not your business.
This is what killed my sister 13 months ago so I’m not just being dramatic.

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Do not say anything to anyone - especially AirBnb – about this guest using real names. IIRC his medical condition is NOT a matter of public record and should not be bandied about.

Yes he should have told you he was diabetic and taking insulin

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I’ve had guests leave insulin in the room, pretty weird! I put it in my first aid kit!

Insulin has to be refrigerated.

oh that’s right, I remember from my dad. I should toss it ASAP.

Yes though this is the case with any illness. I’m athmatic and could in theory have an attack at a hosts property. Someone with high blood pressure could keel over. A friend of mine is epileptic and the first I knew about it was when he had a fit in front of me. He’s a huge 6 foot 6 guy and I struggled just to get his head away from the wall. So I get the idea behind it but it would be too easy to discriminate against someone based on their illnesses. Diabetic huh? Sorry can’t host you. Asthmatic? No sorry I’m worried my house won’t be dust free.

So as a person with an illness that can be life threatening when not managed properly, I get it. I still wouldn’t disclose it. We are talking about grown adults not children. Sorry, but true.