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Teen Dies of Rare Complication with Diabetes

Teen Dies of Rare Complication with Diabetes

Posted - Jul. 30, 2004 at 4:51 p.m.



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Carole Mikita ReportingSometimes a chronic disease and sudden illness combine with tragic results. Just this week a young woman with diabetes died in what doctors are calling rare circumstances.

The family doesn't want to alarm anyone, rather to increase awareness about this disease and remind everyone how precious life is. Makaela Bailey Hliton just turned 14 this month. She was ready to go to dance camp Wednesday when she decided to go to the hospital instead. Makaela was a diabetic and she wasn't feeling well. She died that night at Primary Children's Medical Center.

Kristen Smith Hilton, Makaela's Mother: "She had a bit of the stomach flu. And when your fluids go down, your body begins to work very hard to correct what's wrong and she developed what is known as DKA, which is diabetic keto acidosis."

Doctors say what happened to Makaela is very rare. There are no clear answers why some teens with Type 1 Diabetes develop brain swelling during an illness and die. There have been fewer than a handful of these deaths in the U.S. in eight years.

Makaela, they say, did a great job measuring her blood sugar and with her insulin injections. The family says there is no one to blame.

Kristen Smith Hilton: "Life is very short and very precious and Makaela was an example on how to live. This is extremely difficult but that's how our ending is, but it was still beautiful."

And she was in life -- a dancer since age three Makaela had already performed with Ballet West, was an artist and an athlete.

Family and friends packed into her hospital room to say goodbye. They describe Makaela as a young woman who had grace in time of chaos, strength warriors would envy, and when she needed comfort, she, instead offered it to others.

Kristen Smith Hilton: "We feel very blessed that she's gonna be able to take care of everybody now. She will be able to do everything that she wants to do."

Type 1 & 2 Diabetes are on the rise here in Utah. Makaela’s family has established the Makaela Bailey Hilton Foundation to help other children living with diabetes.

The family is requesting that donations be made in the name of Makaela Bailey Hilton to the American Diabetes Association, or a local chapter of your choice. A special trust fund has been set up in the name of Makaela at Zions Bank. The Makaela Bailey Hilton Memorial Foundation is available for donations that will go to help others that are living with diabetes. Information regarding contacting the trust will be made available through Zions Bank.

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