Benefis Patient, Age 4, Becomes First Montanan with New Insulin Pump

A Conrad boy has become the first Montanan of any age to get a new kind of insulin pump that his doctor likened to jumping from driving a clunky old manual transmission to a Tesla. 

Calvin, 4, is the gleeful new owner of an Omnipod 5 insulin pump, which is the first tubeless, automated insulin delivery system and is integrated with a continuous glucose monitor sensor.

"This is a game-changer," his pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Marwan Bakhach said. "For a boy who is going to be raised with diabetes, this can impact the way he'll see the world in the long run.

"We have been waiting anxiously for this," he said. "I hope the word gets out so more kids can benefit."

calvin krause

Calvin's dad, Tyler Krause, said the pump is an instant improvement in life for Calvin and his parents. They've spent the last year and a half trying to dial in his blood sugar, but yet it's in a good range only about 30-40% of the time despite heroic efforts and working closely with Dr. Bakhach.

"We'll be able to move some of the diabetes management from the front of our minds to afterthoughts because the system will do what it's supposed to do," Tyler said. "We won't have to make these hard decisions, the math, and the guessing because the system will be making them for us."

Since he was diagnosed with diabetes in the Emergency Department, Calvin has never run from the insulin needle or cried or balked. 

"He's braver than I'll ever be," Tyler said. "I couldn't ask for a better kid." 

Still, nobody wants constant injections, and nobody wants to be shaken awake in the middle of the night because an alarm has alerted their parents to low blood sugar.

"His alarms will wake us out of a dead sleep instantly," Tyler said. "To have something that will just automatically make adjustments is a huge burden lifted. We won't have to worry so much. We'll stay cognizant, of course, but if it can take away the blood sugar highs and lows, that will mean so much."

calvin krause

Calvin could sense his parents' excitement for the new system, Tyler said. They're on the "bleeding edge" so there hasn't been much to research, but everything he's read about the new system has been positive.

Tyler is especially excited that the system will pick up on trends in Calvin's blood sugars and will begin making predictive decisions. The system checks blood sugar every five minutes and adjusts accordingly.

It's heartbreaking to know Calvin's parents have often woken in terror trying to get to him during a blood sugar swing and that despite their efforts, his levels haven't stayed in the normal range, Dr. Bakhach said.

"This streamlines things for them and keeps his blood sugar in a safer range," he said. "Every day counts for patients with diabetes."

For more information on Dr. Bakhach and his services, click here.