PDM Failure

My son Alex started pumping saline with the Omnipod Insulin Pump last week. He was on day two of his second pod ever when he went to "bolus" and the PDM failed. I called Insulet and they had me reset the PDM and stated that the basel amount would still be administered but he would not be able to bolus until the pod was changed. I expressed my concerns (fear) about him going "live" with insulin this week and being on his own on a school field trip next week and they offered to send me a new PDM??? This does not give me warm fuzzy feelings. And I was worried about pod failure. How often does the PDM fail?

I don't blame you for being apprehensive! When Caleb starting pumping (five years ago) I remember a couple of occlusions early on - worry, worry, worry. It's been years since we've had an occlusion, and I've never been able to figure out why that happened back then.

We occasionally have a PDM error - perhaps I should say rarely. It's frustrating when that happens bc the connection between the PDM and Pod are lost, and as you were told, the bolus function is therefore lost.

What I have noticed is that the PDM errors tend to coincide with low battery. Even though there is a low battery alert, I find it can be a little too late. So I keep on top of replacing batteries.

I would definitely take them up on the new PDM offer. We had this issue with a PDM that was a few years old and since it was replaced we've been fine.

Good luck!

Hi Beth.

Definitely hear your concern. I can tell you that I've never had a PDM failure being on the Omnipod over 2 years now (knock wood). I did have two pump meltdowns on a Minimed pump over a 10 year period, so it's definitely something that can happen with any pump.

PDM errors like that are a rare occurrence. I've had only 2 or 3 in 4+ years of 'podding.

I had a PDM failure recently and all of my settings were lost. (Keep a written copy of your settings somewhere safe!) They sent me a new PDM, but I ended up sending it back because my existing PDM worked fine after I reset everything, and it continues to work well. One thing to make sure you do is use Energizer batteries. For some reason, they are a little longer than Duracell and fit the PDM better, making them less likely to turn off intermittently. I certainly understand your concern, but in my experience, such occurences are extremely rare. Is it possible for you to make sure someone accompaying your son knows how to change a pod, if necessary?

Good point Jim. Energizer batteries are the way to go.

We had the PDM fail like that once (on a Friday night)- had to reset and change the pod - that was about a year ago - PDM was working fine after that (though that did get me to order a backup - my 5 yr old - then 4 is very resistant to shots - the idea of giving her shots over a weekend while waiting for a replacement was unbearable). We did have some communication errors with this PDM early on but that improved once we started using Energizer batteries consistently.

We all have different experiences, but I'll just say that I never use Energizer batteries in my PDM. I buy the cheapo ones at Walmart or Walgreens and they work great.
I have seen some people report that you can adjust the battery contacts in the PDM so that the batteries fit a little more snugly; I did that a while ago, and it's been a LONG time since I had any sort of battery issue.

hi beth, i believe we have had only 2 pdm errors, they are a hastle but once you know what it is it is pretty easy to resolve. i believe the energizer batteries are more reliable and we have had no issues in this regard for a while, a bummer it happened right of the bat for you, my confidence would waver a bit also, but hang in there, there will always be bumps along the way, check this one off as been there done that and now you know how to fix it. best of luck! amy

I've had two kids on omnipods for 4 years. One PDM has failed one time and the other 2 times. Before that we had the Minimed for 4 years, and I think it maybe failed twice in that time. I would take them up on a new PDM also. We use Energizer batteries too.

I'm new to Omnipod, but no PDM problems so far. The nature of any electronic device is that 0% failure is not possible. There will be bad ones. At least Insulet is good and fast at customer service on issues such as this. That is how you rate any electonic component maker these days, is their service. Also, at the recommendation of my Doc, I also keep an extra Insulin Pen around, just in case.

I have had a couple pod issues though. One that died early with the beep of death. It's currently in the freezer, cooling off :) And I have noticed that each pod seems to have a different maximum radio distance. I've had one that I had to have the PDM almost touching to send bolus and changes to. And some that seem to communicate easily across the room.

And, I use the dirt cheap alkalines. No problems there either, and more than the 2 week normal battery life that most talk about. As one person pointed out to me once, the name on the battery case doesn't mean much these days.

Thank you for the replies. Alex will start pumping insulin tomorrow and we will try to be calm regarding the pdm failure and hope it was just a rare occurance and bad timing. They are sending a new PDM, however, it won't be here in time for the start up. I will decide whether to send the old one back or keep it and send the replacement back. The batteries were industrial energizers that came with the pdm and the battery power was indicating "half" after less than a week.

Hi Beth, I hope things are going well for Alex today! After 25 years of injections, I've been on OmniPod for about 3 months now.

My pdm had a communications error one night on a friday night and I had to reset - same situation as yours where it keep giving basal until I changed the pod. I was a little annoyed at the time because it was late and I was tired.

I didn't lose any of my settings except for having to reset the time and date. As a caution to everybody, be so careful if you have to reset the time. As I said, it was late and I was tired so I mixed up the am and pm when I reset the time. Getting your daytime basal rate at night and your nightime basal rate during the day doesn't work so well.... I'll be more careful next time. :)

I haven't had any problems at all with my pdm since then. Just for peace of mind, you may want to put fresh batteries in Alex's pdm right before the field trip even if it's not time to change them. I definitely think there's a link to the battery when this communication error happens because the first question the OmniPod customer service rep asked me that night was if the battery was low. Like yours, mine was a little less than half when it happened.

Don't let it get the best of you, though. I have way more good days than bad days with OmniPod and I'm still very happy with my choice to go that route.

Im into year #3 without a pod failure. If I travel away from home I still bring backup insulin pens "just in case"!

I've been using the Omnipod for about 16 months now and I did have a PDM failure a couple months ago. What really made it a pain was I just changed my pod, so I lost it and all the insulin (I've never been able to get it back out, I've tried). I did find out that Insulet has a lost insulin reimbursement program. I'll start keeping track of any pod failures and how much insulin I had. Never realized they had this and only found out when I complained about the lost insulin when I called about the PDM failure.

Hey Mark, can you give us any more information on the lost insulin reimbursement program? Did they say what the process was? When I've pulled new pods and called, they sometimes have asked how much insulin I lost so I wonder if they're tracking it.

They said to send a receipt for the insulin (I'm guessing a copy would do), a list of the Pod Failures and the # of units of insulin lost to:

Insulet Corporation
Attn: Product Support
9 Oakpark Dr
Bedford MA 01730

Not sure how they determine how much they'll reimburse, but I'm going to give it a try. Had another one fail last night as I finished injecting the insulin into it.

EEEEK! This just happened to me this morning. PDM failed with a loud beep and said to call Insulet. Called them and we tried resetting it with a paperclip several timesand no luck. The rep said it was a rare error code and the last time she sawe it they had to replace the PDM. They are FedExing me a new one, but in the mean time I am back to MDI for 24 hours. A PITA. But at least they are handling it efficiently.

Lat year, we had a box of bad pods where we lost a whole vial or two of insulin over a two or three week period so they ofered insulin reimbursement. Same address and process as above.

I did not follow up because they only reimburse your prorata copay cost, not the total cost of the insulin. It seemed like a lot of work for little $$ for us.

But it may be worth it depending on your insurance plan and out of pocket expenses. This year we are on a different plan, where instead of a copay there is a fund of $$ you get at the first of the year, when you exhaust that (took us about 2 months)you are on your own until you hit the max out of pocket, then they start paying again. I would bother to turn in on e of those 100% pay receipts.