By Eric Lagergren | May 14, 2009 5:05 pm
About six weeks ago, I learned that Smiths Medical, the maker of my Deltec Cozmo insulin pump, would stop selling diabetes materials and "manage an orderly, carefully controlled exit from the diabetes business." Well, fine. I have two years left before I get a new pump — the end of the warranty period, at which point my insurance covers a new pump. But not a huge deal, as long as Smiths Medical ensures that the cartridges and infusion sets that work with my pump are around for a few more years. Not a big deal to me.
But as I have blogged here before, it always seems to be something.
That latest something? Two weeks ago, I received one of those United States Post Office stickies on my door telling me that I wasn’t home to sign for a package from Smiths Medical. Hmm. Why would Smiths Medical be sending me something requiring a signature? I thought, at first, that it might be medical supplies, but I don’t get any supplies from them. Then I wondered if I’d requested any replacement parts for my insulin pump (the battery cover is one thing I’ve replaced a few times). But I know from experience that these types of materials don’t require a sig.
I was at a loss.
Two days later, I made it to the post office and signed for my packages. I picked up an envelope with a few pages of paper in it. That’s all. What was this? Well, for one, it was my “Second and Final Notice,” which was stamped diagonally across the front in big red letters. Second? Final? I never received a first notice. And the date that first notice went out? November 20 of last year.
So…I’m being notified of something over five months after I should have been? What was this?
I read it, and then read it again (mostly at stoplights on my way to work). Apparently — and some of you have probably been aware of this since last year — there’s a display irregularity with my insulin pump, and a few customers have reported that the amount of extended bolus reported as delivered is not accurately displayed by the pump; that on a few of the screens it was less than what was programmed by the user.
Oh, they emphasize that the pump delivers the correct amount of insulin as programmed by the user, and that the potential risk is that if the user programmed an additional bolus based solely on the extended bolus “delivered amount” displayed on one of those two screens showing erroneous information, there is a low potential risk of hypoglycemia.
So what did I have the options to do? I could continue to use my pump as usual if I didn’t use the extended bolus or combination bolus feature. If I did use these features, I could just be aware of this irregularity and not use the info on the two misinforming screens. Or, if I wasn’t comfortable continuing to use the pump, I could have it replaced with a recertified pump with corrected software.
I haven’t had problems with my pump. But ignorance is bliss, and because Smiths Medical has made me aware of a software problem — for liability reasons, of course — I started thinking about this. I’m not a software developer, but a few insulin pump software glitches…is that all? Probably. But how do I know for sure.
I spent some time mulling it over and decided I wanted a replacement pump, which should arrive in the next few days, at which point I’ll ship my current pump back. It may be a bit over-the-top, but knowing there is this specific malfunction casts a shadow over my confidence in the pump to do just fine in all its duties. I may be overreacting a bit, but it’s times like this that I realize it’s technology that’s helping to keep me alive, and how fragile all of this human-made technological infrastructure can be, and how I’m relying on hundreds of smart people I’ll never meet to invent and develop and research and put things together to keep me going.
Guess I’ll never get off the grid.
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