Insulin pumps part of urgent recall over potential dosing issues

Diabetes is a much more common medical condition than it once was, but there are also now many more options available to people with both forms of diabetes than there were years ago. Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition that typically has childhood onset, while type 2 diabetes often develops later in life, potentially because of medical or dietary issues.

Some individuals can reverse some of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes with careful diet and exercise regimen, but many people cannot control their blood sugar without medication of some sort. Injected insulin is one of the most effective means of helping diabetic people manage sugar and maintain their personal health. Sadly, giving yourself shots day after day can be a painful and aversive experience that promps people to make questionable health decisions out of pain and discomfort.

Insulin pumps require surgical implantation but eliminate the need to continually inject yourself day after day or even to measure your insulin. When they work properly, insulin pumps can be convenient, even life-saving tools. Unfortunately, while people definitely depend on these devices for life or death medical assistance, they can sometimes turn out to be faulty, resulting in injury or even death.

Medtronic has begun a recall of insulin pumps

An insulin pump not only eliminates the need to inject yourself but also helps control the dose of insulin that a person receives, but that also opens the door for catastrophic failures. The company Medtronic creates medical devices, as the name clearly implies. They have sold thousands of insulin pumps and other devices, many of which produce a positive impact on the life of the person using it.

Unfortunately, Medtronic’s MiniMed 600 Series insulin pumps are now part of a Class I recall. Those unfamiliar with this term should understand that a class one is the most serious kind of medical recall the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes. In other words, the FDA believes that the product in this instance is so dangerous that it could cause either severe medical consequences or death.

The problem with the MiniMed 600 Series is that the implanted devices may inaccurately deliver insulin doses. Something as simple as a retainer ring inside the pump is all it takes to endanger the person using the device. Medtronic acknowledges more than 26,000 complaints regarding the rings, more than 2,000 of which have resulted in injuries due to incorrect dosing. There has also been at least one fatality.

Medical device companies have an obligation to research and test products

A faulty component can be the difference between life and death for a patient who depends on a medical device. An insulin pump administering too much insulin could have catastrophic health effects, as could routinely administering too little insulin to a person with diabetes.

Companies that manufacture medical devices in products should have even more strict testing and quality assurance practices that other manufacturers. Failing to adequately verify the functionality, long-term viability and accuracy of a medical device like an insulin pump could have fatal consequences for patients and severe financial ramifications for the manufacturer when injured parties or their surviving family members bring lawsuits against the company.