The first few patients to actually receive insulin back in 1922 make an interesting story in, Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin and the Making of a Medical Miracle.
It all began at the University of Toronto with the discovery of insulin after two years of scientific research and experiments conducted on dogs.
The back story is really the story: the personal and professional struggles of the lead scientist, Dr. Frederick Banting, whose birthday has been taken as World Diabetes Day, November 14th. Banting did not have an easy slog through the myriad of academic regulations and competing researchers’ jealousies.
Elizabeth Hughes, the daughter of an American diplomat, was one of Banting’s first patients after she managed to live for four years on a starvation diet – the treatment before insulin was discovered. Amazingly, perhaps she lived to be a ripe 77 years old.
While the authors, Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg, guess at times at actual occurrences, the overall arc of the book conveys a true look at the drama of living with diabetes before insulin was discovered and shortly afterward.