Reflecting on his experience of taking part in a clinical research trial for Type 2 Diabetes patients
who have had a ‘coronary event,’ Peter says he felt physically weak and pessimistic when he was
offered the opportunity to join the study in 2012.
Looking back Peter says: “I was recovering from a heart attack and my diabetes was out of
control. I could only walk 100 yards which ruled out being able to do my favourite two mile hike in
the foreseeable future. My outlook was bleak.
“When the staff at Yeovil District Hospital in Somerset asked if I would like to join a clinical drug
trial I felt I had nothing to lose in saying yes. At that time my situation felt hopeless. Being a study
participant switched from a passive stance to an active one and the research was like a lighthouse
in a confused sea. I thought the treatment might just work and even if it didn’t it would still advance
Peter’s working life was in industrial electronics with extensive technical support and teaching
experience in aviation, oil platforms and one space shuttle flight, so he understood how research
and development achieved advances.
He was enrolled for the remaining two years of a four year clinical trial. His commitment involves
injecting himself each morning which takes about 20 minutes; twice a week measuring his fasting
glucose and keeping a patient diary. Every two or three months he attends a hospital outpatient
clinic for monitoring.
Peter, who lives in Sturminster Newton, said he underestimated the positive benefits he would
gain from research participation – giving a renewed sense of purpose and hope for a better quality
In 2010 Peter said “I had started to shut down areas of my life and disconnect because I didn’t
expect, with my family history, to live much longer. Six months into the trial in 2013 I was clocking
up all these milestones. Week on week I could do something new. I was waiting for the sucker
punch and wondering whether the improvement was sustainable.”
Paying tribute to the research nurse Clare Buckley at Yeovil District Hospital, Peter said: “In all the
turmoil she was professional, focused, constant, meticulous and diligent. Clare was my anchor.
My mind set changed. This wasn’t just about survival – this was recovery. So I began to re-connect
with people and I rekindled my social life. I joined a creative writing club which is very enjoyable
and took up hiking with my neighbour’s dog!”
Summing up the personal benefits of research participation Peter added: “I feel a sense of pride
from contributing to the health and wellbeing of others and my own personal journey.
“The recovery in my physical and mental health was unexpected. It has given me back my life
– which is better than it was before. At 71, I feel like I am probably in better condition than I was
aged 50 in terms of my stamina and strength. The diabetes is now well controlled, my heart
function is normal; I am more active and my morale is high!”