60 Year Medal for living with type One Diabetes


Dr Mark Gormley together with Diabetes Specialist Nurses and Diabetes UK Northern Ireland representatives recently presented Gerard Hart with a medal for living with type one diabetes for 60 years at a reception at the Mater Hospital. His family and friends celebrated with him, some of whom flew in from Canada.

Gerard Hart was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December 1953. Gerard was 19 years old and lived in Clifton Street, North Belfast. Living with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes at the age of 19 would have been difficult in 1953. Re-usable insulin syringes were the only devices at that time. Sterilizing them was a time consuming ritual which involved boiling needles and glass syringes for 20minutes. The link between good glycaemic control and prevention of complications was not evident at this stage either.

Gerard has made use of the many improvements in diabetes care over the years to include portable point of care glucometers, urine ketone test strips, single use insulin syringes, disposable insulin pens, analogue insulins.

Within the Belfast area diabetes has grown by 31.06% in the past 5 years. In 2007 11,557 people were diagnosed with diabetes and in 2012 15,147 people were diagnosed within Belfast.

With up to date evidence and treatments it is possible for diabetes to be managed well and prevention of complications possible, regular attendance to the diabetes clinics is a priority to aiding this.