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Needle-phobic undergoes pancreas transplant

By Editor
29th January 2016
East Midlands, Good practice Latest news

A woman with type 1 diabetes and a needle phobia has become the first person in the world to have a pancreas transplant because of her fears.

Sue York, from Lincoln, said injecting herself with insulin would make her shake violently and sometimes she would even vomit.

The 55-year-old, who has had type 1 diabetes since the age of 7, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that the surgery had “completely altered” her life.

Eligibility issues

Ms York, said that following the operation, which took place at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, she felt “incredible” and full of energy.

She said: “No longer am I struggling to walk up a flight of stairs, getting breathless walking into the wind. No longer is my skin yellow or grey. No longer do I look constantly exhausted.

“I’ve had to get new glasses because my eyesight has improved and feeling has returned to areas on my feet where I’d begun to lose sensation.”

Ms York said her phobia had become heightened in 2012 when the DVLA changed its regulations and insisted drivers with diabetes checked their blood glucose levels before driving and thereafter every two hours when behind the wheel.

She could not cope with amount of injections needed, so Ms York gave up driving. However, her body became very weak and she found walking anywhere difficult.

Ms York spent two years on a transplant waiting list and appeared in front of a panel three times to discuss her suitability for the procedure.

There were questions over her eligibility as she did not have any kidney complications and she had to prove that her phobia was a strong enough reason to justify major surgery.

Surgeon Dr Raman Dhanda said guidelines were currently in place nationally and internationally to ensure those with the greatest need received transplants.

In Ms York’s instance, he added: “It was a very hard decision to make, because [her] case was clearly very exceptional.”

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