When Good Insulin Pumps Go Bad (Part 3)

OK, this is the last installment in my three-part series on my insulin pump biting the dust. If you’ve made it to this week’s blog without having read my previous two entries, you can grab some much-needed context by reading part 1 and part 2.


When we left off, I’d just replaced my insulin pump’s battery cap in the hopes that a faulty cap may have been triggering the short-circuit, or whatever it was that was causing my insulin pump to shut down and restart at various times. For the remainder of that day and well into the late morning of the next day, it appeared that, with the help of the Deltec Cozmo representative, we’d solved the problem. The battery cap was the culprit!

I decided I would leave the faulty cap off of the pump, and instead use the original cap and go blood glucose monitorless (although I have a stand-alone backup monitor, it doesn’t directly communicate with the pump, which is one of the benefits of the Deltec Cozmo, and why I chose it when I was first picking out a pump).

By the way, I know that my audience here… that not all of you are insulin pumpers, and that not all of you who pump go the Deltec Cozmo route. So, for those of you who’ve never looked at the Deltec Cozmo insulin pump, who may be saying “huh?” to all of this talk of battery caps and CoZmonitors and so on, here’s a simple visual that I hope helps.

About noon, then, on the second day of my insulin pump seemingly back in the realm of normalcy, I get the follow-up call from Smiths Medical. The representative wants to make sure everything’s going OK. I tell him it is, and he says that they’ll get a replacement battery cap in the mail.

Problem solved. Or so I thought.

Fifteen minutes after hanging up the phone, I feel the insulin pump on my hip vibrate its two quick, buzzbuzz start-up tones. Yes, that’s right: It had just powered down and started back up again with the original battery cap.

I get back on the phone, this time with a different representative (David, the person with whom I’d been speaking, was, to my chagrin, helping someone else). The woman I spoke with apologized for the continued malfunctioning and said that they’d get a new pump out to me overnight. All I had to do was make sure I sent the old pump back within 15 days.

When she was going over the shipping information with me (I had her send it to my office because a signature was required), she said, “And you want the volcano black again, right?” Well, wait just a minute. I can choose a different color? I mean, I know that Smiths Medical is pulling out of the diabetes market, so I expected to find out that black was all I could get.

Another by the way: In all honesty, I didn’t expect the high level of customer service I received by a division of a company that is on its way to extinction. But to Smiths Medical’s credit, they went above and beyond in helping me resolve my problem.

So when I asked the rep about a different color, she told me, “Well, we’ll see what we can do. What color do you want?” I hadn’t thought about what color. I remembered from the Web site that there was a blue and a green. “Green,” I said. Yes, the green. She said she’d put that on the paperwork and if they had one, I’d get it. If they didn’t have green, would I want a blue pump? I said yes, yes I would.

The next day my new pump arrived via UPS. Not only is the case tropical green, it’s also translucent, which I really think is neat.

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  • FatCatAnna

    Sounds like they came thru’ for you. Glad your pump didn’t do some of the wacky things that Steven Kruegers pump did to him – where it basically primed during his sleep – the whole insulin cartridge into his body. You don’t have to ask what occurred from that incident – it doesn’t have a happy ending. Sad to say, the company that manufactured the pump hasn’t been as cooperative as Smith Medical.
    You can read more about Steven – at Diabetes1.org (look for forum discussion thread in NEWS – or for my blog dated August 30th). Also, postings at Tudiabetes – with more information – just search for Steven Krueger – and you’ll find lots of discussion.
    BTW, the company that I have my present pump from sounds as good as Smiths – PM me – and when you’re ready to change – I can fill you in!
    Again, glad you are alive and healthy Eric!! Keep on writing … and pumping!!!

  • Bev

    Eric-I did not go back and read parts 1 and 2, but reading this, I would just like to share (I have a Medtronic MiniMed Pardigm REAL-Time Insulin Pump (purple & translucent) & Continuous Glucose Monitoring System, and before that another MiniMed and before that a Disetronic—-I’ve been pumping for just over 20 years!) Medtronic’s customer service is absoutely awesome. Obviously, pumping over 20 years I’ve had to place a few calls to Customer Service. Every time it’s been a wonderful experience with Medtronic. Last time they too sent me my replacement pump via Fed. Ex. next day (same with the bad lot of infusion sets they just recalled – I had two boxes and they were replaced immediately). I don’t think I’d ever switch from Medtronic!

  • Randy

    I too have a cozmo pump and have not had any issues. I had a Minimed pump and hated the whole experience. I love the Cozmo’s features and the integrated glucose monitor. It simply is the best pump out there period. Then I found out they are going out of the pump business. I was very disappointed to say the least. Although I will never go back to Minimed and their proprietary hook up, I think I will give Animas a try next time. They were my 2nd choice anyways. Hopefully in 4 years they will have an integrated glucose monitor.

  • Joey

    I have a pump. Let me first say I am very upset that I have wasted the $6,000 this pump has cost me. Occasionally, my pump will go blocked and not tell me(Yes, even after changing the site or tubing). Currently, my pump has spells where if the pump distributes any insulin, the high pitch siren (meaning dead battery) goes off. I have to take the cap off, reattatch it, and I still cannot pump insulin for a prolonged time. Needless to say I am unhappy that I am on my 3rd replacement (soon to be 4th) in under 4 years.