By: Zoe Hunter
A Tauranga mum says funding is needed for a medical device which monitors her diabetic son’s blood sugar levels overnight.
Lochlan Gray, 8, uses a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System which his mum, Theresa Driscoll says is expensive to use.
“If his blood sugar levels drop too low overnight, he can go into a coma, and it can be fatal,” Mrs Driscoll said.
Mrs Driscoll said start-up costs for a Dexcom G4 system costs $2479, plus $530 each month for a box of four seniors, and $950 for a replacement transmitter.
The Tauranga mother-of-two and her husband Jason Driscoll are self-funding initial start-up costs but are looking for help with ongoing costs.
They are hoping to raise about $1000 which would be enough funds to cover eight sensors and eight to 24 weeks of use.
Lochlan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 2, which means his pancreas produces little or no insulin.
Mrs Driscoll said her son had endured up to 15 finger pricks a day for three-quarters of his life.
“He has had over 2190 injections, and once insulin pumps were funded, he has had over 580 site changes.”
The monitoring system would also mean a transmitter would alert Mrs Driscoll if Lochlan’s blood levels drop dangerously low overnight.
She recalled going to bed one night and waking at 2am to find Lochlan’s blood levels had dropped dangerously low.
“He had dropped for some unknown reason, and I honestly do not know what the outcome would have been if I had not woken up.
“So this is my biggest fear – going in to wake him one morning, and he does not wake up.”
Mrs Driscoll said it also meant she could monitor her son while he was playing sports or riding his bike and increase his food intake as required.
“It just means that we can sleep, the outlook for a longer, happier, healthier life for Lochlan is there, and it allows him to self-monitor with a little more confidence.”
Mrs Driscoll said her son dreamed of becoming a paramedic and was a goal she believed came from having Type 1 diabetes.
“I do tell him that if I could take it from him, and have it instead I would, but for the most part, we focus on the positives.”
Bay of Plenty District Health Board diabetes and related conditions nurse practitioner Isabel Raiman said there were about 140 children in the district with Type 1 diabetes.
Mrs Raiman said there were different types of Continuous Glucose Monitors, some which link with insulin pumps and others that can be used without insulin pumps.
“Essentially they give continuous glucose readings and can show whether the levels are steady, rising or falling,” she said.
People with Type 1 diabetes need their insulin and blood glucose monitored and anyone could have a continuous glucose monitor but they would have to buy it, she said.
“Children with Type 1 diabetes will have a funded glucose meter and finger pricker.
“In order to check their blood glucose they will need to prick their finger and this usually needs to be done at least six times a day.”
Mrs Raiman said there was a new system available for purchase in New Zealand that was not funded and included a small sensor inserted into the upper arm.
“It lasts two weeks then needs renewing,” she said. “You swipe the ‘reader’ over the sensor and it will give you your glucose reading, which saves pricking your finger, and you can swipe it as many times as you need.”
To donate, visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/cgmssensorsforlochlan
Source: Bay of Plenty Times