Quebec to consider covering cost of continuous diabetes monitoring

Michaella Etienne’s pre-school daughter Annie, in Côte-St-Luc on Friday November 16, 2018, has a rare form of diabetes that requires constant monitoring of her blood sugar, but the provincial government won’t cover the round-the-clock surveillance under medicare because it costs more than $5,000 a year.

Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette

Michaella Etienne’s preschool daughter Annie loves to skate in her neighbourhood arena and play hide-and-seek with her older sisters.

But were it not for a thumb-sized device that Annie wears that monitors her blood sugar continuously, playtime might not even be possible. That’s because Annie has a form of Type 1 diabetes that doesn’t show any symptoms if her blood sugars drop low or soar high.

That’s a potentially serious problem. If Annie’s diabetes were to become uncontrolled and her blood glucose levels plummet, she could be at risk of a seizure, lapsing into a coma  even death. Fortunately, the Côte-St-Luc girl can count on a relatively new technology, continuous glucose monitoring, that makes it possible to lead a normal life.

“This technology is saving her life on a daily and nightly basis, because we can’t respond to her symptoms,” Etienne explained. “If (most) children with Type 1 diabetes feel low, they start shaking or sweating, sometimes they feel thirst or hunger and other people in their entourage can respond to them. We can’t do that with my daughter because we can’t feel her lows.”

The device is connected via Bluetooth to Etienne’s smartphone and alerts her when her daughter’s blood sugars are off. In a flash, she can give her daughter some insulin.

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