The lived experience of a child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in DKA in a remote area of QLD

Mrs Emma Turner1

1University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia


2015 was meant to be ‘my year’, all three boys had finally started school & I had been accepted into Medicine at OUM. However, things don’t always go to plan. Freddie was 7 & we had all been unwell with a virus, but he did not recover. He was taken to the GP & the hospital on numerous occasions, but we were just told it was viral & to keep up fluids & paracetamol. On ANZAC Day at the Dawn Service, he was very unwell & I finally figured out the diagnosis. On admission, his BGL was 39.5mmoL, with ketones of 6.6

My passion and career direction has since changed to support of families with children diagnosed with T1D, and also regular BGL checks. If Freddie had just had ‘one small prick’, he might have been diagnosed much sooner, and in less traumatic circumstances.

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a common chronic disease in childhood. Management of this condition requires a daily routine of monitoring blood glucose levels, administration of appropriate dosages of insulin, carbohydrate counting and regulation of physical activity.  Meeting the demands of T1D in a child can increase the stress felt by immediate family members, which can then lead to poor management of T1D and feelings of isolation. Geographical isolation and lack of access to appropriate services only compounds these feelings.

Our story describes the transition from diagnosis at DKA necessitating a RFDS flight to Brisbane, to treatment options and a family move to a larger town to be closer to health care.


BN (QUT), MMid (USQ), GCert Paediatric, Child & Youth Health Nursing (QUT),

GCert Mid (Flinders), GCert Diabetes Education & Management (SCU), RiPRN

Current Masters of Science Research (Applied) student, researching the support mechanisms that families in South-West Queensland identify as necessary in the ongoing care and management of their child with type 1 diabetes.

Position: Clinical Academic Lecturer in Nursing and Midwifery at University of Southen Queensland, teaching into undergraduate and postgraduate nursing.