A British woman has become the first person ever to undergo a pancreas transplant due to a phobia. Sue York, the woman who received the transplant, had the operation at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
York, 55, suffered from type-1 diabetes and would reportedly experience uncontrollable shakes and vomiting when receiving insulin injections due to her needle phobia.
Type-1 diabetes is a chronic condition that causes blood glucose to rise to unsafe levels due to a lack of insulin, notes the Daily Mail. Thus she had to endure the insulin injections twice each day.
York's extreme needle phobia, however, impeded her from self-injecting the insulin.
After the U.K. began requiring diabetic drivers to check glucose levels before driving, York ran the risk of being immobile.
In general, transplants are reserved for patients with a life-threatening ailment, such as kidney failure. York was added to the transplant list due to her phobia after numerous consultations with doctors.
Prior to the transplant operation, York had spent two years attempting to get on a waiting list. York appeared in front of a panel three times to answer questions regarding her eligibility for the procedure.
Dr. Ramon Dhanda, York’s surgeon, told BBC that “[the transplant] was a very hard decision to make, because [her] case was clearly very exceptional.”
U.K. and international guidelines exist to ensure that patients with the most significant need have access to transplants.
York said that she was feeling recovered and energetic after the transplant.
“No longer am I struggling to walk up a flight of stairs, getting breathless walking into the wind," she said. "No longer is my skin yellow or grey. No longer do I look constantly exhausted."
“I don’t know who my donor is, but I thank them and their family from the very bottom of my heart,” York added.
Doctors said that after the transplant, York’s life expectancy has doubled.