Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Nephew

from today's Auckland Central Leader newspaper.

Little James Taylor-Keown could be forgiven for not liking needles.

The 18-month-old receives up to 12 insulin injections a day to control his type 1 diabetes.

James' mum Natasha Taylor-Keown says an insulin pump, which automatically administers daily doses of the drug, would provide an ideal solution for her energetic toddler.

But at a cost of more than $8000, which the family can't afford, and little public funding for the device, James is missing out.

"It's something that's been around for a good few years now and it's known that the pump controls diabetes a lot better than injections," she says.

"But there's still no funding out there for them at all. It's especially hard on little ones like James."

In Auckland the Starship Foundation provides a limited number of insulin pumps to children with diabetes, though it gives priority to patients who suffer from other conditions as well, like coeliac disease.

The Auckland District Health Board provides diabetes services for the region, including ongoing clinical care for patients and training on how to use the pump.

In contrast, the Canterbury board provides a limited amount of funding to purchase pumps for young people.

Even though mum-of-three Natasha is a registered nurse, she says it's hard to figure out how much insulin James needs during the day.

Exercise and the amount of food James eats alters how much of the drug he needs.

"His sensitivity to insulin changes throughout the day.

"It's hard to draw up in that tiny little syringe."

Diabetes Auckland NZ general manager John Denton agrees pumps are useful for regulating the amount of insulin children receive.

"It's difficult for any adult to be a diabetic let alone a child," he says.

"Children find the pumps really useful because the supply of insulin is regulated and much more flexible."

However he says the ongoing costs associated with a pump - like tubes that carry the insulin into the body, can be several thousand dollars a year.

ADHB chief planning and funding officer Denis Jury says it supports funding insulin pumps through the Starship Foundation, but has no plans to purchase pumps for individuals themselves.

If you can help James' family find the money for an insulin pump phone [in New Zealand] 027-520-120 or email

No comments: