Watch CBS News

Making Medical History: Teen Suffering From Type 1 Diabetes Receives Artificial Pancreas


Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

CONNECTICUT (CBSMiami) – A Connecticut teenager is making medical history. She's one of the first in the country to receive a so called artificial pancreas. The new technology could change the lives of tens of thousands of people living with type 1 diabetes.

Claire Bickel suffers from type 1 diabetes and keeping her blood sugar in check is a constant struggle.

"Especially when I'm juggling field hockey, the spring musical, track, biology, checking my blood sugar," Bickel said.

But now, the active 14-year-old said a small device is going to simplify her life dramatically.

Medtronic Diabetes Machine MiniMed 670G
Medtronic's MiniMed 670G hybrid closed looped system, the first FDA-approved "artificial pancreas" device for people with type 1 diabetes. (Source: Medtronic)

She's one of the first patients in the country, and the first pediatric patient, to receive the MiniMed 670G since it was FDA approved last year.

The system from Medtronic automatically measures her blood sugar and delivers personalized amounts of insulin 24 hours a day with less interaction from Bickel.

Dr. Stuart Weinzimer at Yale Children's Diabetes Program said reducing the burden to patients and families is huge.

"You still have to do some basic things like testing your blood sugar… dosing what you are eating. This is going to operate and do a lot of the important safety work in between meals, during exercise and at night," Dr. Weinzimer said.

Those are the times Bickel's mother would worry about blood sugar dropping the most. But the device is really helping her bring the worry level way down.

"Oh, it brings it down. I slept ALL night last night," she said.

Bickel's now looking forward to a future with less stress.

"I think going away places, going to college… a lot of those things I want to do by myself, it's just a lot easier to do," she said.

Giving both her and her mother peace of mind – and another reason to smile!

Close to 1.25 million Americans are currently living with type 1 diabetes.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.