A 17-year-old with type 1 diabetes is the first person in the UK to have an electronic insulin pump fitted on the NHS.
Laura Dunion, from Oulton in Leeds, has a device which automatically injects insulin into her body when her blood sugar levels are high.
The Medtronic MiniMed 670G means Laura can forget about having to regularly inject herself with the hormone and can get on with her day-to-day life.
After being hooked up to the gadget in November – she is believed to be the first NHS patient to have it outside of clinical trials – Laura says it has changed her life.
Laura was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of eight and was given the pump at Leeds Children’s Hospital last year.
She said the technology has since given her the confidence to volunteer, go on skiing holidays and start learning to drive.
‘Once I’d heard about it and what it did, I wanted it,’ she said.
‘It did take time getting used to it, because I had to take a big step backwards. You kind of had to let it do its job, you can’t do what you’ve always been used to doing.’
Having type 1 diabetes means someone’s pancreas can’t make enough insulin, the hormone which helps the body absorb sugar from food.
This can cause blood sugar, the body’s main source of energy, to spike dangerously high or drop dangerously low, and even lead to a coma.
For years diabetics have had to test their blood sugar, usually using a pin-prick blood test on their finger, and inject insulin if their sugar is too high.
But Laura’s new gadget uses a skin sensor to measure blood sugar and uses Bluetooth to signal when insulin is needed to a pump connected to her stomach.
The system automatically adapts throughout the day and should keep blood glucose stable, avoiding dangerous highs and lows without any effort from the patient.