Insulin pumps use by teens linked to 13 deaths

The Seattle Times reports that a Food and Drug Administration study raises concerns about adolescent diabetics using insulin pumps. While The FDA supports the use of insulin pumps in teenagers who have diabetes, they want consumers, their physicians and hospitals to be aware of potential complications due to the use of the medical devices including 13 patient deaths and 1,500 injuries.

Infusion pumps are becoming more common in the treatment of Type I diabetes in adolescents and are used by tens of thousands teenage patients.

In the study Adolescent Use of Insulin and Patient-Controlled Analgesia Technology published in the May issue of Pediatrics, the study looks at problems related to use of the pump by adolescents:

  • Incorrect use of the pump, sometimes due to inadequate instruction
  • Alarm problems
  • Catheters that loosened or occluded
  • Bent cannula
  • Screen display problems
  • Device malfunction which caused over delivery of medication or failure to deliver medication
  • Patients disconnecting the pump for exercise
  • Carelessness

The study highlights the special issues of using the pump with teenage patients and urges proper education and parental oversight. The FDA urges consumers and practitioners to device-related problems through the FDA Medwatch program: www.fda.gov/medwatch

If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one died due to the malfunction of a medical device, you need to contact a personal injury attorney to insure your rights are protected. At The Farber Law Group, we have more than 30 years experience in representing victims of malpractice and defective or dangerous products. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.