‘Artificial pancreas’ could prevent four in five severe hypoglycaemic attacks in diabetics
A new device which mirrors the pancreas could protect thousands of diabetes sufferers from dangerous sugar lows, say doctors.
The ‘MiniMed’ pump, which has now been licensed for UK use, helps to control blood glucose in the body by detecting falling blood sugar levels and then stopping the production of insulin. This marks a major breakthrough for people who suffer from diabetes as it could prevent hypoglycaemic attacks which are caused by falling sugar levels.
The device is expected to prove particularly effective for the five to ten percent of Type 1 diabetics who suffer frequent and sudden serious sugar lows or hypoglycaemic attacks, without any clear warning signs.
Hypoglycaemic attacks can cause seizures, diabetic comas and, in the worst cases, can prove to be fatal. Around 400,000 people suffer with Type 1 diabetes in the UK.
The ‘MiniMed’ pump has been trialled in Australia, and will now be available to NHS patients in the UK on a case by case funding basis.
Sharon Banga, a senior clinical negligence solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Birmingham office, said: “Diabetes is a condition which requires close monitoring and management, and when this is not achieved by either patients themselves or healthcare staff, the consequences can be very serious.
“This revolutionary device could prove to not only protect those suffering with the condition from dangerous sugar lows, but also help diabetics to better manage their condition, offering peace of mind and helping them lead a fuller life.
“While the ‘MiniMed’ artificial pancreas may only be available to a small proportion of UK Type 1 diabetics in the first instance, we will monitor this medical development closely as failure to properly consider its use for a patient who then goes on to be injured could be actionable.”
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