The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first artificial pancreas — a cellphone-sized device that automatically takes care of checking a patient’s blood sugar and delivers lifesaving insulin as needed. The surprise approval Wednesday — it wasn’t expected until next year sometime — means patients with type-1 diabetes will be able to hook up the device and skip the regular finger pricks to constantly check their blood sugar. MiniMed 670G Medtronic Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G system includes a sensor that measures glucose levels under the skin; an insulin pump strapped to the body; and an infusion patch with a catheter that delivers insulin. Many groups are working on similar systems aimed at freeing diabetes patients of the tedious job of constantly checking their blood sugar and delivering insulin, and of the fear of sudden death if their blood sugar plunges too low. Angie Platt of Encino, California says she burst into tears when she heard the news. Her 13-year-old son Jonathan has been testing the device. “This is something that you think about nonstop.” “I have been crying for the past hour. As soon as I saw the email, I just burst into tears,” Platt told NBC News. Jonathan was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes in 2009. It was a devastating diagnosis, Platt says. "This is something that you think about nonstop,” she said. “You think about it when your kid is on the way to school, when your kid is at school, when your kid is at basketball practice. You never not think about it," said Platt, who also has twin 3-year-old boys. “Things that are so easy for other families, like sending your kid to camp or sending your kid to a neighbor’s house or, god forbid, a sleepover — the level of work that it takes to make that happen is tremendous.” Jonathan Platt and his mom Angie. Jillian Sipkins About 5 percent of the 29 million Americans with diabetes have Type-1 diabetes. Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, caused when the body mistakenly destroys pancreatic cells that produce hormones like insulin and glucagon that control blood sugar. High glucose levels damage tiny blood vessels, which in turn can lead to blindness, heart disease, stroke and kidney