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November 6, 2002

Insulin Pumps

Question from Oregon, USA:

I started on insulin pump therapy a year ago, liked the model I was on and had experienced very few problems. However, about a month ago, I was upgraded to the new model and had it for less than a month when it froze up on me. None of the buttons responded to touch, and it was not delivering a basal rate. The manufacturer sent me a new one which worked for five days before I realized that the back light was not working, so they sent me a third new pump which also froze up like the first one. To reset the pump, I removed the battery for 20 minutes and then needed to reprogram everything. I have asked the manufacturer twice if other people are experiencing these same problems, but they contend that they have heard no complaints. Now that my third brand new pump has failed me, I seriously doubt that this is a reliable product. Have others experienced problems with a new pump model?


I cannot say my patients have had the same frustrations with this insulin pump It does sound like you should try to get contact someone in the company who can see to it they send you a working model before you experience something like this again. In the end, if you were happy with your previous model, you might ask for that back.

Additional comments from Dr. Jim Lane:

The Federal Food and Drug Administration [FDA] is responsible for regulating manufacturers of medical devices, like insulin pumps. I would strongly encourage you to report your problems with your pumps to the FDA. You can go directly to their website or telephone them. Your speaking up about your experiences with these products will be of great help to all insulin pump users.

Additional comments from diabetes nurse specialist:

It has been my observation as a diabetes nurse educator assisting over 200 insulin pumpers, that your problem is being shared by many pumpers who have upgraded to this model. Although the manufacturer is attempting to downplay the problem to the consumer, diabetes educators have received official notification from the company acknowledging this widespread “glitch”. The company has stated that all pumps now being shipped have newer, upgraded software that will prevent pumpers from experiencing this problem.

They also are attempting to assure diabetes professionals that they are working on recent complaints against their customer service department. These include long hold times and unprofessional responses to consumers using their hotline. It is apparent that this company is painfully aware that they having major technical difficulties with their brand new product and that they also are no longer able to provide cutting edge clinical support, either. Only time will tell if they are able remedy these major concerns and return to providing the quality product and customer services that we have grown to know and expect from this company.


[Editor’s comment: Obviously, we have deleted the name and model of the pump that the writer was concerned about. I have just telephoned the company’s service line, and it was answered within a few moments. The customer service person was knowledgeable about the problems mentioned, and did not attempt to deny that they had occurred. We are also sending a copy of this e-mail to the company, and will add their response, if they wish, to the published replies.