I’m so irritated right now, and I want to share. I was really happy when my endocrinologist suggested that I consider the Medtronic 670g, their new closed-loop system. During that conversation, one of the first thoughts I had was regarding Medtronic’s REALLY bad reputation when it comes to CGMs and how much I just love wearing a Dexcom CGM. (I’m currently on the G5 and have it talking to my iPhone and iWatch, which is wonderful.) My endo confirmed that I’d have to wear a Medtronic CGM.
I decided that I’d go ahead and try it as they’d managed to get FDA approval.
My experience has been awful.
It took them forever to even schedule a time for me to see a Medtronic nurse to get up and running. I’ve had the 670g for weeks and was waiting to be trained. Not her fault, as she was great, but if you’re going to launch a new product like this, make sure you’ve got the staff to support the rollout.
Replacing the sensor is a chore with the Medtronic 670g. I’m used to the Dexcom where my transmitter arrives with a charge and then just works. Eventually, you have to replace it, but there is no waiting around to charge the transmitter. The first time I had to switch my new Medtronic sensor on my own, I’d forgotten about that.
It was Wednesday of last week. I was out and had evening plans. My sensor sends me an alert that it’s done. I go home thinking I’ll just switch it out and head back out. Not so fast because, ooops, I need to not only switch out the sensor, I need to charge the transmitter. Instead of a sensor switch being 10-15 minutes max like it is with my Dexcom, this is now a project. Also, I’m learning how to do it, so I’m just slower. So much for my evening plans because the switch took almost an hour primarily because I had to wait for the transmitter to charge.
WTH? Did they do any user feedback on this workflow? What if your sensor fails in the middle of the day or at night? You’ve got to wait for a charge in addition to a two-hour warm up time!
I’m in a 670g group on Facebook and got a good workaround from a member there: simply make the sensor change a morning ritual once a week. That’s assuming you get your 7 days with no errors. I decided okay, I can live with that difference because having a full night’s sleep without the alerts I’d get from my Dexcom waking me up either for a low or high was worth it.
That’s been the one big benefit of wearing the 670g: a full night’s sleep with no alerts. If the 670g CGM calculates that you’re going low, the pump suspends insulin delivery, you sleep, it kicks back in when your sugar levels off, and I’m well rested. That’s amazing, and that’s what kept me going.
However, I had two sensors fail back to back over a few days. The first sensor that I inserted that Wednesday evening eventually failed a couple of days later. The Medtronic sensors take a long time to fail. It started giving me errors in on Friday evening. I went to calibrate it before going to sleep and it wouldn’t take the calibration. I tried 5 or 6 times. This is bad because at this point I’m in auto-mode. I call support. It’s 2-something am, and the rep tells me to turn it off, wait three hours, and see if it gets a signal. I remind him that it’s 2 in the morning. He then suggests I put the pump in manual mode and see how it is in the morning. He did warn me that the sensor was probably going to fail. Sure enough, I woke up the next morning and eventually just had to switch the sensor out.
That morning I knew it was going to be a process. I lay everything out, set up the transmitter to charge, and take a long shower. This time no problem. I had to wait a bit for the transmitter to finish charging. (My shower wasn’t long enough, clearly.) I get everything attached. It warms up, and I’m good to go…until yesterday.
Around 4:45pm I get an alert that my sensor is updating, that this can take up to 3 hours, and not to calibrate. I get this same alert two more times and the pump eventually kicks me out of auto-mode. I figure this is bad, so I call Medtronic support. I get one guy who has to transfer me to someone else. I explain to him that I really can’t stay on the phone for a long time, so please connect me quickly. I get a 670g rep. I explain the same thing to her. She asks me when the alerts started, I say between 4:30 and 5pm. I can hear her typing. She asks me the same question again. At this point, my temper is short. I repeat, and I point out that she just asked me this. She then asks me to go to my alert history where the exact same data is right there! I got my first alert at 4:45pm.
At this point, I’m just livid. Why did you ask me the same questiont twice when I could have just jumped to the alert screen and told you the exact minute I got this alert? I explain again that I’m pressed for time and I ask her roughly how long this “troubleshooting” will take. I know they need the data, but my other option was to just suspend the pump, go back to MDI, and call when I had more time. She doesn’t answer my question, so I ask her again does she understand. She then gets smart. Her tone changes and she says she understands English. She’s clearly NOT understanding my point though. If this isn’t something she walk me through quickly, I can just take the go into suspend mode or simply remove the pump and call back later. It’s just making things worse because I’m not in the mood to have a customer service rep who is just as stressed as I am.
I hung up on her.
I then let my Medtronic nurse and endocrinologist know that I was removing the 670g. I don’t trust the 670g system. The sensor is way too prone to failure.
What if I wasn’t wearing my Dexcom and my sugar crashed? So much for having faith in the FDA.
On top of that, I got an email from Medtronic and notification from UPS that my supplies are in transit. Problem: they sent it to an old work address. I’ve not worked there since 2014. I asked them to switch the address in May when they contacted me to get me on the 670g system.
Too many balls dropped = customer service failure.
(Note: I’ve worn the Medtronic 508 and Paradigm pumps before; I’ve also worn the Omnipod. While I have years of experience pumping, it’s a learning curve getting back in the groove of using a pump. I completely forgot about the alert history screen or I would have gone to it immediately when she asked me the first time. The 670g is now a paperweight on my desk.)