The Dead Man's Switch

My Medtronic pump has the auto-shutoff feature - also called the "dead man's switch" by some - and at least twice a month this has gone off. It's usually a weekend morning, and I awaken to hear the pump vibrating and screeching to alert me that I haven't bolused or touched any buttons for 12 hours. What a silly feature. If I was hypoglycemic and passed out for 12 hours, just go ahead and stick a fork in me. I'm done.

Of course I am annoyed by this alarm initially, but after quieting the silly thing I realize, hey, this is something to be proud of. I completely ignored my pump for half a day, and didn't eat or take insulin. Flat line. (I don't ignore my diabetes, though. I still check my Dexcom CGM and test periodically.)

I agree I'm not a huge fan of the "dead man's switch", although I like the nickname. I can quash moderate hypos by dropping my basal %age a bit but it often leads to a spike if I don't keep a very close eye on it. I turn the alarms off on my pump most nights as it always seems to think of something to bleep about when I least want it bleeping. I could see that it might be useful to help parents be assured of a safety feature though...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. My pump trainer set it to 9 hrs and I was guaranteed not to sleep in on the weekend. I have reset it to 10 hrs and it still woke me last Saturday. Night time lows have never been a problem for me. I think I'm going to turn that alarm off or at least bump it up some more.


I like your humor!

Unless they have the feature turned off, I would beg to differ with you. On a pump you would be getting a constant small dose of insulin throughout the day. This is the basal rate. It can be set in segments that cover certain hours of the day when your BGs may be higher/lower due to activity/inactivity.

I'm also a Medtronic pumper and am thinking that I sure wouldn't want that feature. Besides, my beeps are getting harder and harder to hear for me.


I think the idea is more for overnight lows, where you might not wake up in the morning. My diabetes nurse had me turn off the feature on both my pumps (Cozmo and Ping) because she said it's too easy to sleep in and then wake up with no insulin delivery and feeling terrible. I'm surprised the Minimed pumps don't have a way of turning this off. I don't think it's really useful other than people who have a history of severe lows, and I think it's becoming outdated now that the next versions of pumps will all have CGM anyway (and the Veo has the low-shutoff thing which is better because it's based on CGM readings).

I am confused as a Medtronic Veo user ?? 154 of the User Guide describes Auto-off describes what to do , if one does not want to use the program feature : main menu , utilities , alrm , auto off and it is different from the Low Suspend feature , when using the Medtronic CGMS , page 188 : main menu , sensor menu the way this User Guide coming along with me , while off to Palm Desert in 3 sleeps :)