The Fight to Survive: A Young Girl, Diabetes, and the Discovery of Insulin
In 1919, when 11-year-old Elizabeth Evan Hughes was first diagnosed with what we now know is Type 1 or juvenile diabetes, the medical community considered it a death sentence. In The Fight to Survive, Caroline Cox weaves the heart-wrenching story of Hughes’ role in a medical discovery that stopped the disease in its tracks—only weeks before her imminent death.
The only account of one of the very first patients to be successfully treated with insulin for juvenile diabetes, this book tells two fascinating stories in tandem: that of Hughes’ personal struggle, and the medical detective story that occurred during a time when endocrinology research made significant strides. It was Frederick Banting and John Macleod, doctors and researchers, who were finally able to create a testable version of insulin treatment to save Hughes’ life. She lived until the age of 74, and Banting and Macleod won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work. The Fight to Survive draws on primary sources to vividly bring the era to life, including interviews, newspaper reports, and Hughes’ own letters. Readers with an interest in medical history, pathographies, biography, diabetes, and American history will constitute this audience.