CBC article on insulin pumps causing more deaths than any other medical device in Canada


I just did a quick check on the ICIJ and found that they are financed by small donations and a long list of philanthropic and not-for-profit foundations. (Follow the “about” tab from their main web page.) At first glance this looks like an organization that can report on stories without a conflict of interest. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

The alarm raised in this story seems out of sync with the experience of many in this community, including me. I remain puzzled.


First, look at the dates in the story. Many of the problems seem to have happened with one pump manufacturer back in 2006 - 2010. I am sure that deaths HAVE occurred due to improper use of pumps, just as deaths have occurred from the improper use of thousands of other devices. I have used the OmniPod system since 2009, and like others on this forum, I have had very, very few problems over the years. I dropped the PDM once and broke it, but Insulet replaced it the very next day. Another time the PDM started to not communicate promptly, and again it was replaced in a day. Read about the different pumps and educate yourself as to what will work best with your daughter. If both you and she learn how to use it properly, it can be life changing! If you are worried about a pump malfunction, then pair it with a CGM. That will act as a back-up to to the pump. While pump and CGM numbers will not be exactly the same, the CGM will give you enough warning to investigate things further with a glucose monitor so that you take appropriate actions. I would not hesitate for a moment if a child of mine were diagnosed with diabetes. She would be on a pump immediately. I hope your daughter has as much success with her pump-- should you decide to go that route – as I have had with mine.


It has been great to hear everyone’s valuable input on this topic.
Yes we are definitely going ahead with the tandem X2 pump as soon as it is available in Canada. She has had a Dexcom CGM for several years so the X2 is going to be a wonderful addition. For the first time, my daughter really wants to start pumping. She’s 17 and headed off to University next fall (for her Bachelor of Nursing Science then on to become a diabetes educator).
She has had 6 years of MDI and we’ve learned to do all of the calculations in our head up to this point so we’re going into this with an excellent foundation. We are “take the bull by the horns” type of people and learn everything we can so I have no doubt we’ll be successful with pumping. When I think back to when she was first diagnosed we were being pushed into pumping at each and every appointment we attended at our diabetic clinic. We had to be insistent that we didn’t want to pump yet because my daughter was quite happy on MDI and was learning more and more about how to manage using insulins herself. Had she been put on a pump when she was first diagnosed she would lack the understanding and first-hand experience that she has gained for the last 6 years. I really think this pushing of pumps too early on after diagnosis makes people too reliant on a device to do all the thinking and decision-making without ever double-checking it with your own common sense and knowledge. This type of user error on pumps is no doubt to blame in the vast majority of accidental hypoglycemia.


Congrats on your daughter’s choices (pump & nursing)

My daughter graduated BSci nursing (RN) last spring and is now working full time at VGH (Vancouver).

What part of Canada is your daughter going to Univ?


Thank you. I’m very proud and think she’s making a wise choice. She’d like to see more T1D’s as educators as I’m sure we all would. We’re in eastern Ontario.


You have good reason to be proud :smiley:

We’d all like to see (better yet have) T1 educators, nurse practitioners and doctors) :+1:t3:


Fake news?


I’m reminded of what my Critical Thinking (very useful class) professor told us: the quality of the data/answers that you get depends largely on exactly what question(s) are being asked. Specific wording is important in getting meaningful data.

So, if you asked “how many people died while using an insulin pump?”, you get a reasonably meaningless statistic. If you ask “how many deaths have actually been caused by malfunctioning insulin pumps?”, or “how many deaths have actually been caused by the incorrect use of an insulin pump?” (user error and/or insufficient training) the data is at least in a meaningful context, and could be useful in preventing future mortality or injury.