Newfoundland and Labrador provides insulin pumps for kids; B.C. still refuses to do the same
A recent story in a Newfoundland paper, the Western Star, features the smiling face of Liam Marche with his government-supplied insulin pump.
Liam's mother, Barb Marche, told the paper that within 12 hours of receiving the insulin pump, her young son felt better, and now he is able to go to birthday parties and be part of extracurricular activities without his mom.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys beta cells. Beta cells are produced in the pancreas, and are necessary to absorb blood sugars.
In the absence of an insulin pump, a person with Type 1 diabetes must have daily injections of insulin to survive.
Last year, Newfoundland and Labrador became the third province in Canada (the others being Ontario and Saskatchewan) to provide insulin pumps to children with Type 1 diabetes.
Meanwhile, parents of B.C. children with Type 1 diabetes are still waiting for an announcement from Health Minister George Abbott.
Last May, Abbott told the Straight that the government was conducting a PharmaCare review, and this would include an examination on whether or not to fund insulin pumps for children with Type 1 diabetes.
Last October, the Straight followed up on this issue with an article pointing out that B.C. parents are still forking out their own money for insulin pumps, which cost around $7,000.
In an unusual twist, NDP health critic Adrian Dix has Type 1 diabetes. He doesn't use an insulin pump, and instead takes daily insulin injections.
Type 1 diabetes can lead to serious complications -- including amputations, heart and kidney disease, and blindness -- if blood-sugar levels aren't managed properly.