G6 critical failure! (Urgent low alert failed)

Buckle up for a crazy story.

I use the G6 with the T:Slim X2. I get my CGM alerts through the Dexcom software on my Pixel 5a phone.

A few nights ago, I was awoken by a short “beep” coming from the phone on my nightstand. I turned it over-- my blood sugar was 45 mg/dl. I did not have any of my typical low blood sugar symptoms. Verified with a fingerstick-- 50 mg/dl.

I’ve never experienced hypoglycemia unawareness before, so this was extremely disconcerting.

As I treated my hypoglycemia, I looked at my CGM history. It was 1:30am. My BG dropped below 80 at midnight and slowly dropped over the next 90 minutes. At that point I was alerted, I had been below 55 mg/dl for 30 minutes.

As most of you likely know, what should have happened is that the phone should have triggered a loud, repetitive siren alarm indicating an urgent low, which does a very good job of waking me up. (I’m a sound sleeper, and the alert on the pump is sometimes not loud enough to wake me). The Dexcom software claims that it doesn’t allow urgent low alarms to be silenced. I verified in my app sound settings that the urgent low sound was still set to the siren alarm. It was.

The next day, I called tech support. I got someone at a call center overseas who fully managed to misunderstand my problem. She was all ready to send me a new sensor (I have no idea why). I told her if this is happening to others, this could be a recall issue. She told me “you need to speak with software support” and gave me a different toll free number. She said to reach software support, I had to press option 4.

When the recording came on, it was the exact same Dexcom message I had heard before. There were no push button prompts (though I tried pushing 4 anyway)- only voice prompts.

I ended up reaching another overseas tech support rep. I explained the situation again, and he ran me through a few irrelevant troubleshooting steps before he told me to wait. It seemed like me might have placed me on hold at first, but there was no hold music. I checked in periodically, and at first he replied. Then he stopped replying to me. I waited for 30 minutes, listening to this guy’s breathing, hoping he was digging up some relevant info. Finally I began speaking out loud that if this is a monitored line that this was an urgent situation that I needed to resolve immediately, and suddenly the call disconnected.

I cannot believe that it is so difficult to report what could be a critical glitch in the Dexcom software. It might have left me dead in bed. If this is happening to others, it might leave someone else dead in bed.

Incidentally, this is not the first time I’ve been unable to report a critical flaw to Dexcom. The G4 receiver speakers had a manufacturing problem that caused them to stop working. (After a few months of use, they would audibly crackle for a week out and eventually stop working completely). I had at least three or four of them replaced over the course of 2 years. Each time a new unit failed, I’d go through the same song & dance with tech support. Each time I’d explain to the tech that this has happened multiple times before. And each time the tech would tell me they’d never heard of this problem.

Suddenly there was a huge FDA recall for the failed speakers-- then magically everyone at tech support knew about it.

I even had a rep call me back to apologize because she initially refused to replace a failed G4 receiver because it was out of warranty. Apparently when a failed unit is included in an FDA recall, they relax their warranty standards. I wonder why? :slight_smile:

Has anyone else experienced the urgent low alert failing on their mobile phones? I want to be clear that this is the first time I have experienced this problem, and I’ve been using Dexcom devices every day for about ten to fifteen years now. I’m not inexperienced with them.

And does anyone have access to a flesh and blood US-based Dexcom rep who could actually be helpful in resolving this issue?

Thanks

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Could this be a phone app failure rather than a Tandem failure? I have used the Tandem x2 with CIQ and g6 without a telephone link for 2 1/2 years and never had this problem.

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I generally find I have better results if I go to the Dexcom web site and use the support chat function. The classic problem with off-shored, outsourced tech support is that the assistants don’t know anything about the product beyond what you can already find on the website FAQ page (if that), and they are discouraged or even penalized for escalating issues they can’t handle or that don’t fit a very small category of common issues. OTOH, the chat option is only available to US customers, and it seems to be monitored by in-house support techs, who aren’t as constrained or uninformed. I believe I’ve even had them do a call-back phone session if it’s something complicated. If you go to the FAQ page and scroll down, the chat link is at the bottom:

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The phone techs at dexcom are only given a certain amount of information. They have a flow chart. They follow that.

If you ask a question that is not on the flow chart,they are supposed to get a second level tech to help out.

Could be that no one else has complained about that issue before so they didn’t know what to do.

My alarm works even when my iPhone is silenced. unless the Bluetooth is blocked which happens sometimes.

If I’m on my side and my sensor is under me it can block the signal to my phone.

I myself have slept through an urgent low on my G4 receiver. It beeped and buzzed for half an hour before my wife finally woke me up circa 50 mg/dl because of all the racket.

Yes it’s very possible it could be a phone failure. But that didn’t mean it’s any less dangerous, out that the FDA shouldn’t know about it so they can investigate. That’s the way I’m leaning on this right now.

Unless you want it to drop through the cracks, NEVER rely on a manufacturer to report device failures to the FDA.

Cut out the middle men with their offshore outsourced support, three levels of semi-competent management with vested interests and and bad procedures.

Use this instead:

https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/medical-device-safety/medical-device-reporting-mdr-how-report-medical-device-problems

Click the red button and fill out the form.

btw, I found this doing a simple Google search of the phrase “reporting a medical device failure to the FDA”.

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this goes straight to the CEO’s assistant: Kevin Sayer, CEO, CORPORATE OffIce: 888-738-3646

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Update:

I decided to call the Dexcom corporate office in San Diego. Interesting fact: if you choose the corporate directory option, it sends you to tandem.

I chose the patient education option and spoke with a local person who heard my story patiently, and transferred me over to an overseas tech. Unbelievable.

The first thing the overseas tech said to me was that they needed to confirm my address to send me a new sensor! Again- utterly unbelievable.

Once again, I explained the whole long story. The tech said the only thing we can do is to uninstall and reinstall the software. “Then call back if you experience the issue again and we’ll escalate you to level 2 support.”

My response: if this happens again, I could be dead. I’d like to escalate it now. (I feel like these people haven’t heard anything I’ve been telling them).

Level 2 support was slightly better. They sounded less bound to the script than the level 1 techs, but he still told me to uninstall and reinstall the software.

I suggested that we just go through my settings together, just to be sure that everything is correct. It was during the course of this that we stumbled backwards into. What might be the real problem.

I asked him what the current version of the software is, and he asked me what model of phone I’m using (Pixel 5a). He told me that the phone is too new, and that there’s no software release yet for this phone!

I went to the Google app store, and lo and behold I did not see the Dexcom software available for download. The version on my new phone must have automatically transferred from my old Pixel 2 phone.

I went to the Dexcom compatibility tool in their website, and it looks like the Pixel 5, an older version of the phone, is on the compatibility list- but not the Pixel 5a.

So I think we have an answer. Finally. It took three frustrating calls to Dexcom to figure it out, and we came into the answer by accident, but at least I’m aware of it now.

Thank you for the direct line to the CEO. I will be sure to call .

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That phone number goes to the same answering system you get when you call the San Diego office. There’s a corporate directory option, but it takes you to Tavern Diabetes(?!)

My iphone 13 has a warning about not being compatible that comes up every few days. And it’s not listed on their site as being compatible. So most of the time I get alerts, but sometimes I don’t. My phone is in the on mode all night and just doesn’t always sound. I don’t get that it does most of the time, but about 10-20% of the time it doesn’t. I used to not download the updates until I knew Dexcom had worked the compatibility out, but with the new iphone there was no choice unless I didn’t get the phone.

Luckily I still wake up if I get too low. I actually take a day or two break from my Dexcom. All last night no alerts, I was actually happy about that as it was a new sensor and when I woke up and looked over it said I was a bright red 45. I put 80 into it because I knew I was fine and I didn’t want to wake up more to test. It was still reading 30 points too low when I got up in the morning.

PS The iphone 13 has been out a little while now 6 months? I am wondering if they don’t care because they hope to switch to the G7, so all their effort is going into that.

yeah there is no US tech support anymore. They cut all of the jobs unfortunately. I think software support is still US based. I remember right before they cut the support lines I called in because of a sensor failure on my daughter’s G6.

I asked “are we being recorded?”. She said “Yes”. I asked “Are all calls listened to?”. She said “Yes”. I replied “Good, because I want all the $%#@ in charge to know I don’t agree with them cutting US jobs and sending tech support overseas where they can pay someone pennies on a dollar for bad tech support. I don’t agree with it at all and if I had an option other than Dexcom I would drop service and go somewhere else but unfortunately this is the product I need and I hate that YOU are going to lose your job because your company only cares about profits”. She said “Wow, yes they will hear this!”. Tech support has never been the same, most of the time they want to just send you a free sensor instead of resolving the problem. The US based tech support was more likely to find a way to resolve the issue.

Anyway, back on topic, we have never had an urgent low not give an alert. My daughter uses her iPhone X as her receiver and the rest of us in the house use the follow app. All of the alarms go off in the house at the same time, enough to wake the dead.

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This situation is exacly why I do no rely on my phone for critical alerts during the night. Instead I use the Dexcom receiver at night. It is considered to be a medical device. Phones sometimes loose connection (even during the day) but I have never had the receiver loose connection. So a combination of phone and receiver makes me confident that I will not miss an alert during the night.

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BobType1, I use the T:slim X2 pump which cannot be used with the reciever. It’s one or the other. The Dexcom allows you to connect one other device (the smartphone).

I have activated the low alert in the X2 pump, but it’s a much quieter beep, and not as alarming as the siren.

You can turn the volume up on the pump.

Options> device settings> sound volume> CGM alerts

I wish they let us set different alarm volumes for different time periods, though. I have the opposite problem. I prefer screeching loud during the day, because it’s way harder to ignore, and vibrate only at night. The vibration alone will wake me, I don’t need to wake the dead, too!

I keep the receiver in my pocket. But I turn it off at night. The problem for me became that I would have 2 alerts going off at night and a couple of minutes apart. So you turn off the first item and stay awake until the other one goes off because you can’t shush it beforehand. That would just wake me up more. It got annoying quickly. I could turn off my phone instead, but I don’t really want to.

That was one thing nice about the MiaoMiao that I used to use with the LIbre on my dog. You could silence the alarms for a period of time like 15 minutes or an hour whenever you decided too.

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Which brings up a whole other topic: the fact that clearly these parts cost them very little to make, else they wouldn’t solve every problem by sending a free replacement (and let’s not forget shipping costs). But we are paying 20% of everything which is putting many of us in the poor house. Go figure…

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Its possible those readings failed to actually transmit in real time, but instead sent once transmitter and receiver/phone/pump reconnected.

Possible… but again, why no siren?

(Answer: it may be because Pixel 5a phone is not yet supported by the Dexcom software)

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I have the same issues with the iPhone13. Most of the time, it is fine, but occasionally I will find that I am “critically low” with no prior warning. And at other times, the G6 readings I get are 30+ points off. You may be correct, though, about Dexcom not bothering with the iPhone13 since their precious money (How many hundreds of thousands of dollars of profit did they make last year?) is geared toward the G7. After all, it’s only our lives they are playing with. What is that compared to their bottom line?

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