Needle-phobic pancreas transplant 'world first'

A British woman has become the first person in the world to have a pancreas transplant because of a severe needle phobia, her doctors have said.

Sue York - who has had type-1 diabetes since she was seven - would shake uncontrollably and vomit when injecting herself with insulin.

Ms York told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme the operation had "completely altered my life".

Doctors said her life expectancy had now doubled.

Ms York, 55, from Lincoln, told the programme that, following the operation, at Manchester Royal Infirmary, she felt "incredible" and full of energy.

"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," she said.

"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 reached a critical point in 2012, when the DVLA had changed its regulations in relation to diabetic drivers, insisting they checked blood glucose levels - requiring her to prick her skin - before driving and once every two hours behind the wheel.

"It was just too many needles, too many invasions into the flesh," she said.

Ms York had decided to give up driving, she said, but her body had been too weak to walk long distances - leaving her at risk of becoming housebound.

She had tried hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy in an attempt to cure her phobia, but without success.

And injecting herself with insulin would frequently take 20 minutes.

 

H.Z