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Diabetic Hollie hopes she will finally get word that an insulin pump is hers after seven-year wait

By Lesley Houston

Published 12/04/2016

Hollie Morrison
Hollie Morrison
Hollie Morrison with her mum Violet Storey

An Enniskillen schoolgirl fearful she could go blind before she receives a life-changing insulin pump is hoping today will finally bring the good news she's been waiting seven years for.

Violet Storey says her daughter Hollie Morrison (18) is medically deemed "not bad enough" to receive a pump. Yet the concerned mother regularly sits up through the night beside her sleeping child to ensure she doesn't slip into a diabetic coma.

The 48-year-old mother-of-four is fearful that if her daughter goes to university in Belfast in September as planned without a pump, her health could present a constant worry.

Following a seven-year wait since she learned a pump could help control her Type 1 diabetes, hopes are high that she will finally receive one.

Funding restrictions mean only those who fulfil strict criteria receive a health service insulin pump. The devices ensure a constant and measured flow of insulin straight into the body.

Hollie's hopes have been dashed a number of times, but yesterday Violet told the Belfast Telegraph: "We were told there would be two new pumps issued after Easter so we're going today to find out if she'll get one."

If the appointment proves fruitless again, life for Hollie will continue with all its restrictions.

"If she does her drama and gets home late and her blood sugar is low she gets very tired, so I sit beside her overnight and wake her to check her levels," Violet explained.

Despite her broken sleep, she has to go to school the next day as usual to study for her A-levels this year. The Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar pupil must inject insulin five times daily.

"When she goes out she has to inject herself, and kids being kids tease her that she's a druggie, but she laughs it off," Violet said.

A recent eye test identified "changes" in her eyes. Hollie said: "Do I need to go blind or watch my toe fall off before I am considered eligible for an insulin pump? When you have diabetes it is a full-time job trying to stay alive, and to constantly go to appointments only to hear that I don't meet the criteria, it's very upsetting and frustrating."

A spokesman for the Western Health Trust referred to a recent £1.7m investment in diabetic services across Northern Ireland, stating that 12 insulin pumps had been purchased to support trust patients this year.

Diabetes UK NI national director Dr David Chaney said: "Patients should not have to wait an unreasonable amount of time to access a service that will improve their self-management of Type 1 diabetes and help avoid long-term complications such as blindness or lower limb amputation."

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