Pump malfunction (what would you do)

I hope this isn't too long but I had an incident yesterday and am curious how the readers would handle the situation.

The situation: About 15 minutes after setting my pump for my lunch time bolus I get an error message. ( motor error, disconnect and rewind) I disconnected only to discover that my pump had emptied my reservoir and stuck in the extended position. No rewind, no function of any kind. To the best of my calculations my pump had just given me between 60 and 65 units of insulin. NOT GOOD.

This is my actions, 1st, I informed my co-workers and supervisor that if I started acting wierd, lethargic or just simply passed out, to call 911 and tell them I was diabetic and my pump had OD'd me on insulin. 2nd, I called Medtronic and explained the situation. After a couple of questions they determined that it was not for me to deal with. This was on Sunday and they told me that I would have a new pump in hand by 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. That is tomorrow. Then I proceeded with my work and tested my bg levels every 30 - 45 minutes. I have used the Medtronics RCGM for about 4 years but have been thinking about trying the Dexcom. I am in the middle of a 1 week free trial of which I am glad. If I was still on the Medtronics, I would not have been able to monitor my bg. Since the Dexcom is a stand-alone unit, it was able to continue monitoring. I am also happy to say that the Dexcom was never more than 15 points different from my finger sticks. I cannot say the same for the Medtronics RCGM, that is why I was doing the trial in the first place.

My question for the readers, WHAT would you do in the same situation?

It is hard to say what I would do - I have never been there and would never hope to be. I likely would have been testing ever 15 minutes or so and feeding the insulin I received. I am so sorry this happened to you. Did you ever go low, or eat many carbs to conteract the effects of a low coming on due to the extra insulin you received?

When I said I was testing every 30 - 45 minutes, I should have elaborated that I was doing finger sticks that often. I was constantly checking the Dexcom. It was always close enough to the finger sticks that I felt the time frame was ok.

To answer your other question, I chugged an orange juice or two and ate some glucose tablets a couple of times. I was able to never drop below the mid 50 range so felt that I maintained pretty well. After about 6 hours, I felt the scare was over. This is the only trouble I have had with my MM pump and I felt very good about the quality of customer service when I called.

I will re-state that I am glad I was giving the Dexcom a trial run. If I was still using the MM cgm, I would have had to do a lot more finger sticks because the monitor would not have functioned. With the MM cgm my readings were usually 40 - 50 points different from a finger stick with a difference of 100 - 180 points frequent enough to be a concern. The Dexcom has usually been within 10% or less, than a finger stick. I can live with that and be very happy.

Wow, just wow. Wanted to say that I'm glad you are OK. I'm excited to get a pump eventually, but it's definitely not without it's rare but potentially disastrous consequences. :(

Glad to hear you're okay as well. Scared to death as I start pumping with the medtronic pump tomorrow. Sort of puts this in a new light. I hadn't heard of any faliures like this prior to your post.

Actually you can still use the cgm function of your pump when the pump is not working. Just suspend the pump. that being said I had the Dex and I found it was more accurate, but not so much more that it makes a difference to me.
Also I had an odd skin irritation from the sensors, When I got my dex wet from being splashed next to a pool it quit and Dexcom said , it is not covered for getting it wet. So I would need to buy a new one ! Anyway I just quit using it and then started MM cgm when I got my new pump. It seems ok to me.

The odd thing is that the MM pump and the Animas pumps have limits on the amount of insulin that can be bolused. A motor error will cause the pump to suspend completely. Even with out setting the bolus limit. I believe there is a fail safe. The MM boluses so slowly , I can't imagine how that could have happened.I'm Glad you ate fast! 60 units is 2 days worth of insulin for me,

Woah, 60U would be quite a shot! I'd start eating, probably something with fat in it. If I weren't stuck at work, I'd probably try to get to a Mexican restaurant? Maybe Taco Bell or something in a work situation. My MM pump failed last summer (button error, at or near the end of a 14 mile run in 90ish degree heat...) and I got a new one too, I picked up a bottle of NPH to get me through a few days as it was on Saturday of the three day 4th of July weekend. Sort of eerily after doing the "Death Bleep" constantly, I got tired of hearing it and put it in the freezer and, when I looked at it again the next morning, it appeared to be fine? I never found out if MM found the problem with it or not. I sort of got the impression they rebuild and recycle them?

That was 3.5 years into a 4 year warranty and I haven't been disappointed in the MM pump. I've read about the vastly superior performance of the Dexcoms but the extra dingus is a deal-breaker for me.

Something like that happened to a camp counselor at D camps many years ago. He was talking to a MM rep, and he bent down to grab something. Well, the door on his 508 (or was it a 507c? Don't remember) swung open and him leaning over push the plunger so he got all of his insulin at once. Oops.

They gave him glucagon and had him at the nurse's station for the next 24 hours, checking every 20 minutes or so. He was fine, and the pump rep got him a new pump. I think that's when my older brother started using duct tape to keep the door shut on his 507c.

I had my MM Paradigm malfunction (when I had it many years ago) where the cartridge plunger thing decided to do something similar--extend all the way. Fortunately, the problem happened during a change out, so I was just stuck with a bricked pump and not the extra hassle of tons of insulin on board.

I think you did the right thing in the situation, and that's probably what I would have done. Glad you're OK.

Darn nurses, "let's give you glucagon" instead of "let's give you some donuts..."

Wow!! I would have freaked out. Kudos to you for staying so calm and level-headed. Personally, if my pump had dumped that much insulin into me, I would have called 911. But I am fairly insulin sensitive (my TDD is around 20-25 units per day, and sometimes even less), so that much insulin would likely have a very bad effect on me. Of course, I could also see it as an awesome opportunity to get to my nearest ice cream show and have a GINORMOUS sundae with fudge and whipped cream and.....

Glad to hear Medtronic responded so quickly with a new pump. The reality is that all pumps are electronic devices, devices that we subject to quite a bit of abuse since we use them literally 24/7. They are going to fail sometimes. I've had my Revel for over a year now and it has been subjected to quite a bit of punishment; I've been very happy with the fact that it's continued ticking. That said, I always have a back-up plan.

Can't really say what happened. I do know that the pump had stuck in the out position, after it emptied the reservoir. It was like it was still trying to give more insulin. None of the functions worked, I tried to end and rewind, suspend etc. No input worked. I even removed the battery to see if that would prompt a reset. This is the reason I said the MM cgm would not have done any good. I could get nothing on the screen except the warning "motor error".

I have been on a MM pump for about 10 years. My first one was about 6 years old when I replaced it. I think it was called a 722, went to the Revel (723). The original was still working but the screen was pretty scratched up. ( I still have it and am using it while waiting on my replacement). The insurance agreed to cover replacement so I did. I just got a call saying my new one would be here today. I have had a few minor problems in the past and Medtronics has been very helpful. With the response I got Sunday when this pump "wigged out" and the service in the past is why I am staying with Medtronics on my pump, but I was very unhappy with their cgm unit. No one could explain why my cgm numbers and finger stick numbers were so far apart. So far the Dexcom has been very close. With that said, I have only been on it 1 week. Hope the accuracy continues.

Do not let this scare you off. Going on the pump was the best thing I have done in the control of my diabetes. I will only suggest that you ask questions and learn as much as you can about you device. Good luck.

I didn't really want something else on my belt but was very glad to have it at this time. When I started this trial, I told my endo that my belt loked like a "Batman belt" already. I work in maintenance so my belt usually has my pump, a set of keys, a 2 way radio, leatherman, flashlight and cell phone. I really didn't need anything else, oh well.

Thanks for all the well wishes. I just thought that this was something that needed to be put out there for information. Everything is fine and my new pump will be here today. This is just another reason "however rare" of why we need a backup plan.

Some of the responses I addressed individually because of a specific item.

Well wishes and keep on pumping.

I agree. At the end of the pump warrantee, I kept my old pump instead of trading it in for the measly 200 bucks. I keep it in a box in case i ever need one in a pinch,
It feels good to have it on vacation too, although I really doubt I would ever use it, It's easier than what the doc recommends ; to keep a bottle of Lantus and some syringes. Insulin expires, And I'm sure it would be years out of date by the time I even looked at it.
Now if you want to keep an emergency supply of doughnuts and ice cream around, like a couple of people suggested, then I'm all for it :)

Oh I started pumping this morning. I actually really appreciate your post because I've been mentally preparing myself in case I ever have to deal with a pump failure in which no insulin is being delivered. But this particular situation had never crossed my mind. Thanks for the well wishes and once again I'm really glad that you were able to catch this and work through it.