Hospital Experiences and Glucometers

I had the joy of spending the night in the emergency room Friday for something unrelated to diabetes. Since I needed to be under a general anesthesia for a while and was unable to eat or drink for several hours, monitoring my blood sugar was a big issue. I had my glucometer with me and tested about hourly. The hospital simultaneously did its own tests with their glucometer. Some observations:

  1. Their glucometer was quite large - about the size of a large paperback book.
    2, Their glucometer required a blood sample the size I used to need with glucometers 10 or more years ago.
  2. Their glucometer took more than 30 seconds to give them a reading.
  3. Their glucometer provided a reading that was consistently 30 points higher than mine, except for the reading that was 20 points below mine, and we always used the same blood sample. Thankfully, mine was always between 160 and 180 throughout, so there was not a concern about my going low.

Here’s what gets me – why aren’t hospitals using the same machines that we are? How can we trust hospitals if they are getting information that is so different from what we are getting?

Has anyone else experienced this?

Jonathan, I have experanced the same thing during a day surg. After talking to my endo about it he told me to have the hospital personal to call him and he would fix any problem I had with the treatment of my diabetes. Last time I was in they wanted me to disconect my pump guess what I win.

Yes, I have! Just recently too, infact! Only they were WAY off from my meter! My issue was the opposite, my meter read higher, way higher, than theirs! Examples: My meter -365, theirs - 219. Another example: my meter -285, theirs - 187. They were disregarding my meter (one that’s proven to be accurate!!), and instead going by the readings on theirs, and not giving me enough insulin (half the amount I SHOULD have had!) to correct the highs, therefore my blood sugar was not coming down to where it should be! I was in the hospital for four days, and in those four days, they NEVER gave me my NPH shots in the AM and PM, either! Even though they were told exactly what and how much I take when I went in there, initially and then, I asked them about it, and retold them, more than once, that I ALSO TAKE NPH in the AM and PM!!! But then, yanno, it’s MY disease, and I apparently don’t know a thing about it, nor how to treat it! shrugs They had me all kinds of messed up, and I wasn’t too happy about it!!

Man, have I ever. I even sent a message to LifeScan to tell them about the crummy machines my hospital is using. If I test above 400, then I had to wait until the lab vampires came up to draw a sample from my arm. Totally hated it. Also, they would test, and then treat the high but not the meal, so my BG would not come down.

My hositalization last year–hosp had same crappy meters…however—

my endo threw fits over them not testing/dosing me correctly–thankfully my pump came while I was in the hosp…he had trainer come to hospital and train me—and since I had bd link that sent the info to my pump–after that they just took my number out of my logbook–and left the insulin to me and my pump —most days my endo came to see me (I was in hosp almost a month), but one of the docs from the practice was there everyday to check on things, so BG stayed fairly good throughout depsite surgery, tranfusion and cipro/flagul combo for weeks (even after hosp stay))

I work in a hospital and you are so right. The glucometers that are used are ancient and take 45 seconds to give the results (which are inaccurate). They download directly to the lab so are required to be used to document blood glucose values. I have also seen they are very inaccurate when compared to the lab values (we aren’t supposed to compare meters to meters although we all do). Replacing and updating that system is costly and not many hospitals make that a priority when there are so many other things competing for the finances. Unfortunately, it is the patients who suffer.

The problemis they really are not more accurate–and my hospitals was large–but did not send the resultas anywhere–they manually logged into my chart–the nurses all said --at least in my hopsitals case–they were just ancient technology…and the hospitals “rules” were to keep diabetic patiens high to be safe

I had the same thing. Big meter, readings about 50 points off mine. They also didn’t have lancets, and used this thing that looked like a thumb tack to take the blood. It hurt. The next time they tried I refused and used my lancet.

They also took forever to come and test my sugar after surgery and eating. I wasn’t having it, so I took it myself and dosed myself. Why should I spend two or three hours feeling bad and being high when I don’t need to?

I experienced the exact same thing last December when i went to the ER after inhaling a bit of peanut and ended up trapped there overnight.

The explanation they gave me for their dreadful meter was that it communicated with their computer system. In my case, however, it was reading about 30 points LOW and the nurse insisted I was going hypo when I was reading 110 mg/dl on my own Ultra. Since the glucose test they had taken at intake was close to my Ultra reading, I knew that their meter was wrong. (Plus I don’t treat 80 mg/dl as a hypo, but that’s another story.)

The nurse also told me the meters were very old.

When I had surgery this past summer they insisted on raising my blood sugar to 140 mg/dl during the surgery with a glucose drip. Nothing I could say could prevent it. I was in the 90s when I went in.

when i was first diagnosed…I was extremely frustrated. My readings were hitting the mid350- 400 range and I KNEW they could not be right. Sure enough, after some arguing and double checking with my educator they were MUCH MUCH lower than the hospital’s units were coming up with…

While I wasn’t the patient, I noticed that the meters were large and older models. They were not hooked up to any computer systems. When I showed the nurse’s aide my meter, she was shocked on size, speed and amount of blood used for sampling. This showed me that the support staff was not up to speed on diabetes management. What concerns me even more is when the nurse gave my friend’s father his quick acting insulin with no food delivered yet. The food came, but my friend’s dad didn’t eat due to needing some help. He had a horrible seizure because of it.

My question is if you are with it and responsive, can’t you give your own insulin and check your own blood sugar? I think if I was in the hospital, I would do that if I could. I understand if a patient is not responsive and needs help, but if you are capable, wouldn’t it be better? I’ve seen too many hospitals, and, sad to say, I don’t have a tremendous amount of faith in diabetes management for the most part.

It is a relief to know that others have experienced the same things, but frightening to see that hospitals are not as up to date as we are. I’ve had a couple of short stays in the hospital unrelated to diabetes (including this weekend), and each time insisted that I would manage my medication and made sure I had what I needed to do so.

If our meters are good enough for us, why can’t they be good enough for hospitals?

In my recent stay, they had a white board in my room where they posted my information with a marker. I don’t know what went into the records, but it seemed a lot was done manually.

I do know that I would never trust a hospital to manage my day-to-day diabetes. I’ve read too many horror stories here to think that they can do it as well as we can.

Hospitals are one of the most dangerous places you can go. Right now there is an epidemic of MRSA in hospitals largely due to them being too cheap to follow the necessary decontamination procedures. There is no requirement that hospitals report MRSA outbreaks, so often even the doctors there don’t know that one is in progress.

I have quite a few online friends who had surgery this summer and fall, and a shocking number of them have contracted MRSA. Their doctors pretend it is a mystery how this could have happened. It is not. The woman in the bed next to me at the hospital last year had already lost an eye to MRSA she got in the hospital and she died a few weeks after I was there.

When I had surgery, my surgeon sent me home eight hours later once I had stabilized because she said it was much safer for me to be there if at all possible.

None of the nurses in the hospital I went to knew anything about dosing insulin. The “hospitalist” doctor assigned to my case was convinced people with diabetes should eat a very low fat diet and forbid me to have coffee. Neither knew anything about dosing insulin to carbs. They dose only based on the tested blood sugar before meals, and that of course was with the defective meter.

They let me use my own insulin, but I was conscious. If I had NOT been conscious Gawd Help Me since I have abnormally strong insulin sensitivity.

VERY scary.


Well, here I go for a THIRD time. I inadvertently pressed some kind of combination of buttons on my keyboard and it deleted my entire message that I was preparing for you!! Damnable things are sentenced to float somewhere in space forever!!!

Yes, I have noted a difference between our meter readings and theirs. They always excuse it by saying that it’s OK if its within a certain percentage of each other. The only true reading good to compare your machine by is the one drawn from the vein and processed by the lab.

They other thing … about size … their unit plugs into a bigger base and that acts like kind of a database. In the rooms, they register the patient name, room, reading, etc. I think that is one of the reasons they don’t go totally modern. Although, I think that their machines are not exactly dark age. One more thought for you to chew on…a smaller machine is too easily put in the pocket and walked out with.

Lois La Rose
Milwaukee, WI

Same issue, with the same results. I mean come on folks. I even brought in a second personal meter to break the difference of opinion. So they brought another one of theirs and it agreed with mine. Geese which part of old don’t those folks get. Is it the ol or the d ? By the way, they are so scared of the pump they wont touch it now days. Its like a foreign instrument sent from Mars. Geese I hate hospitals.

Remember the truth, almost 80% of all deaths in American occur in hospitals.

I don’t want to be in that group so I stay away as much as possible.


Rick Phillips

In my opinion coming from a tech perspective adding bluetooth and/or WiFi to their system or pulling the results from our meters would give them a better insight to our progress pre admission not only during our hopefully brief stays but insight going forward. I am sure that with the hefty prices that we are paying to be admitted to the hospital someone could get a copy of all the different meter software packages and install them since most of this is already available to them I am not seeing the issue here. Most packages export to excel and could be later manipulated and imported to any database you want. Oh and if I am not mistaken the meter companies would probably send them the software free!!! Call it a hunch that if a manufacturer figured they could make a few buck they would implement a system for them… The one touch software is already geared for multiple persons records…