Insulin pumps linked to more reports of injury and death than any other medical device, records show

Has anyone experienced any pump malfunction that put your life in danger?

Hopefully is not accurate, otherwise, its something the community needs to be aware of.

Never had a problem with the pump unless I made a mistake.

2 Likes

I’ve been on 4 different pumps in the last 14 years and the only time I had a problem was when it was me or it needed an upgrade and was wearing out.

Canada’s CBC is a highly questionable source of news.

A network subsidized by the government, they produce fake news like this on a daily basis and this is another example of “link bait”.

Pay no attention

1 Like

Interesting hit piece on pumps. Sad that the story doesn’t tell the story of how millions of pump user’s A1Cs have dropped dramatically when switching to a pump leading them to a better - longer life. While they are not for everyone, they can make life so much more “normal” for so many.

As for me, I have used Disatronic/Animas/Tandem/2nd Tandem over the last 18 years. There have been times that I questioned if a pump was working properly. Almost every time, either a site change, or better understanding of the carbs and fat in my diet fixed the problem (User error) My only hospitalization due to diabetes since I was diagnosed almost 40 years ago was 3 months before going on my first pump - Thus the reason for switching.

There have been high sugars, and lows. There have been times I have given myself an extra dose via syringe because i was concerned about a pump not working properly, Again - likely a bad site.

Best suggestion - Understand that pump is a medical device you we wear everyday and every night. There are very few things, if any, that can stand up to that type of abuse. Recognize their potential limitations and keep as close an eye on your blood sugar as a CGM or testing will allow. it is the diabetic’s (Or parent of a young diabetic) disease to manage. As a diabetic, I am grateful that the disease is for the most part pretty manageable, a lot more so than so many other diseases, but it does require management. And yes i do realize that malfunctions can, and likely do happen through no fault of the operator. Again. It is our disease to manage.

BTW - For the record, I have had to send several pumps back to the manufacture that were ALL covered under the warranty. I don’t expect them to work perfectly every second of every day. I do expect their warranties to do so.

Finally - for those of you who don’t speak Canadian, here is the US version of the story.

2 Likes

Surely this is a story about Medtronic, not insulin pumps.

I have used an insulin pump (Disetronic, Animas, now Tandem tSlim X2) for 20+ years. There are reasons they are dangerous–they hold that deadly liquid, insulin. They do malfunction, so you have to be very observant and have a backup plan. But I would not go back to MDI, the insulin pump just has too many advantages.

2 Likes

Yes, I agree, this is about Medtronic specifically and not insulin pumps in general; however, I read this story with great interest because I had a problem with my Omnipod PDM malfunctioning.

I gained a whole new insight into the customer service aspect of Insulet, which I suspect is not much different from any other insulin pump/medical supply company. Yes, they eventually replaced the PDM - and all the problems I was having went away immediately - but it was not without dogged determination on my part.

In my opinion, when I first called about the problem I was having, it should have raised a red flag on their end. When I continued to report the same problem, they should have assigned me to a team. There were only two possible reasons for the problems I was having: user error or product malfunction. In either case it is a product problem, if nothing more than the user is not adequately trained or equipped to use the technology.

So, I went round and round until I insisted they send a new PDM, calling them repeatedly with volumes of “data” I collected to “document” my claim that the PDM was malfunctioning.

I still prefer a pump to MDIs, but it is, after all, just a machine.

2 Likes

I agree completely. Sure, it may sometimes not give the amount of insulin we want, but that is because we told it to. In other words, we need to perfect our carb ratios & basal rates (and “perfect” is a state that is continuously changing and we will probably never find), as well as enter the correct number of carbs (another thing that is nearly impossible to do). If you were not using an insulin pump, what would the amount of insulin you do through injections in comparison to how much you do with your pump? And as for CGM, it is definitely true that they are not 100% accurate and sometimes need calibrated, but the fact that they allow us to do stuff (almost) continuously is a major improvement. Pretty much every device used for anything (whether it be medical, construction, cooking, or anything else) will have occasional problems. That is why we have safety features and plan Bs, such as knowing when we don’t feel right, or devices like our meters that are almost 100% reliable.

1 Like

Prior to using an insulin pump, I had a history of overnight hypoglycemia, sometimes so severe that I ended up in the emergency room. I’ve been using a pump for just over 10 years, and that has not happened once. I have occasional dips, but during the daytime, when I’m awake and aware and can do something about it. For me, the control has been much better. I didn’t read anything in the article that makes me question that option.

4 Likes

I have had problems where it could have put me in danger, like shutting off insulin while I’m asleep, fortunately I woke up before it was off long. I have had 3-4 malfunctions where my pump had to be replaced. They shipped a new one right away. Fortunately all of those times the failure was not shutting off delivering insulin so I still had my basal etc. the last one, the memory stopped working and disappeared.

I’ve used to pumps over the years (Deltec Cozmo and Animas Ping) and had replacements for both of those pumps. The most serious problem I had was when the keypad on my Cozmo stopped working. Every time I called and they offered a warranty replacement, even if it was just for a cracked cartridge comparment, they told me to disconnect my pump and use injections until a new pump came. Of course I didn’t always do that if the only problem was a crack…but that was at my own risk. I always have Lantus or another basal insulin on hand as a backup at home, and I had to use it when one pump (due to shipping issues) took three days to get to me. I develop high BG and ketones very quickly when disconnected (two hours without insulin and my BG will be in the mid 20s and high ketones), but I have never gone into DKA in 12 years of pumping, in large part because I correct highs with a syringe if there’s any doubt that the pump or infusion set isn’t working.

3 Likes

Interesting read. Except for the fake news and the for those that don’t speak Canadian part. Took my mind off for a second. But Thanks a lot. Very interesting.

@Mila, thanks for this article and discussion! It is valuable information. I wonder if a similar report has been made in the US? My Medtronic 522 pump seemed to be delivering too much insulin in 2007. I called Medtronic and they asked me for numbers that were on the pump. It was decided that the pump might be malfunctioning. I started using injections that day, and a new pump arrived the next morning. The new pump worked perfectly, without any unexpected lows like I had been getting. I am glad that did not happen while I was sleeping.

I don’t get why we’re now seeing a flurry of media reports intended to leave the reader with a distrust of insulin pump technology. I’ve used insulin pumps for 32 years now. I’ve never had an un-commanded over-delivery of insulin during that time. I’ve used Medtronic (MiniMed), Animas, and Insulet pumps during that period. I have had warranty replacements but these replacements have been for things like a crack in the case or the pump losing track of the date and time when changing the battery.

So I ask myself, “Who orchestrated this public relations campaign and what is their motivation?” It could be political, designed to weaken public support for diabetes technology, and then set public policy that reduces access. I’d sure like to know the genesis of this story. It seems contrived to me.

3 Likes

I’ll go out on a limb and surmise that many of the reported deaths and injuries were the result of people relying on Medtronic’s CGM’s.

1 Like

Can you post about the problems you were having?

Huh? First time I’ve ever heard this perspective. They produce dozens of substandard sitcoms but I always thought their news was top notch.