Parents of Diabetes Victim Want More Affordable Monitoring Devices

November 17, 2020 Updated: November 17, 2020

Parents of a diabetic 17-year-old who went to bed and never woke up have launched a campaign on Nov. 16 for other Type 1 diabetics to have affordable access to glucose monitoring to avoid the same “dead in bed syndrome” as their daughter.

Teenager Daniella Meads-Barlow fell victim to “dead in bed” syndrome (DIBS) or nocturnal hypoglycaemia, a disease which results in unexpected deaths in young diabetic patients without any history of complications.

DANII Foundation, an organisation, formed in her memory, launched the campaign to improve the quality of the lives and reduce unnecessary deaths of people living with Type 1 diabetes.

“Our vision is for a world where people with Type One diabetes live without the fear of never waking up,” DANII Foundation CEO Cassandra Cunningham said in a statement.

Barlows’ parents only learned about a life-saving technology called Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) when Daniella died, and believe it would have saved her life.

CGM devices, unlike the traditional method of multiple daily injections, is implanted in a wearer and alerts them in real-time if their glucose levels become too low or too high.

A CGM device immensely improved the quality of life for 21-year-old Libby Wilson, who wasn’t able to afford it before she received a scholarship from DANII Foundation.

“I was doing blood tests at 3 am,” she told AAP. “It’s honestly the greatest gift for myself, but not even for me, for my Mum who stresses if I’ve gone low and she’s not there.”

From March 1, the Australian government expanded the eligibility criteria for the CGM technology from people who are under 21 years old to those over 21 with a concessional status.

“This change will increase the total number of people eligible for CGM products to over 58,000,” the department said in a statement.

Diabetes is the “epidemic of the 21st century”, according to Diabetes Australia, and is the fastest-growing chronic condition in Australia. Type 1 diabetes is also the fastest growing chronic disease in Australian children.