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Helping Matt Manage Type 1 Diabetes

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For weeks, 10-year-old Matt had been thirsty and losing weight. He barely could move when he arrived at our emergency department. “That drive was the scariest 15 minutes of my life,” says Matt’s mom, Amy.

Matt was in life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis. “Within five minutes we were in the intensive care unit and on this new journey,” Amy says. Doctors diagnosed Matt with type 1 diabetes. “Children’s National Hospital took great care of us and reassured us that he would be OK.” Amy recalls a nurse who connected with Matt and explained the seriousness of the situation without scaring him.

Dr. Fran Cogen, director of our Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes Program, established a tailored treatment plan. She also became a close ally and through education and support, empowered Matt to take an active role in managing his own care.

Matt, now 16, is thriving. When he plays baseball, he monitors his blood sugar levels in the dugout. He sees Dr. Cogen four times a year. Her team helps Matt manage the technology that supports his care, such as his insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. The experience has inspired him to imagine a future career helping others with diabetes in communities with limited resources. “Education and technology have helped me manage the disease,” Matt says. “Thanks to care from Children’s National, I can pretty much do whatever I want, except maybe have a can of soda because of unnecessary carbohydrates. I’d like to help others have the same experience.”