A Miss England finalist has revealed how the insulin pump she used to control her diabetes put her life at risk after malfunctioning.
Karla Fitzpatrick was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was seven years-old and now relies on an insulin pump to manage her blood sugar levels. The pump attaches to her leg and slowly drips feed pre-set varied doses of insulin into her body at a steady rate, eliminating the need for regular injections of the hormone.
But in April, the 19 year-old nearly fell into a potentially fatal diabetic coma after the pump she was using stopped working properly, leading to the development of a dangerous condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
She woke up one night feeling incredibly thirsty and found that her blood sugar levels were dangerously high. After being taken to George Elliot Hospital in Nuneato, Warwickshire, she was told that her blood was much more acidic than usual because the pump was not working properly.
The model, from Coventry, started drifting in and out of consciousness and doctors had to act fast to prevent her from falling into a diabetic coma.
“It was petrifying. If they didn’t act quickly it was going to affect my organs – I could have died. It was horrible,” Miss Fitzpatrick said.
Fortunately, her blood glucose levels began to return to normal after a day and she made a full recovery a few days later after being kept in hospital.
“I am lucky to be alive. I’ve since had a new pump fitted,” she revealed. “The doctors said they weren’t sure if the problem was caused by a defect in my old insulin pump but that it was likely.”
Miss Fitzpatrick, who reached the top 60 in the finals of the Miss England contest this year, added: “I’m still really careful about my condition. It can be up and down like a rollercoaster so you can never get complacent about it. But as long as I’m sensible, it doesn’t have to take over your life – it certainly doesn’t rule mine.”

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