Fire risk warning issued to diabetes patients in North Wales
A healthcare company is warning a potentially deadly fault on diabetic machines distributed in North Wales can cause fires.
Insulet has issued an urgent field safety notice following concerns the Omnipod Dash personal diabetes manager (PDM) can leak battery acid and overheat when charging.
The urgent notice was first released in mid-October, but Betsi patients, some of whom received their device in recent weeks, have not been warned until now – by a letter from the company.
The PDM is a mobile phone-sized touchscreen device that controls an insulin pump or ‘pod’.
The pod is attached to the skin with an adhesive patch, and the PDM allows patients with type-one diabetes to control the amount of insulin they receive.
But a fault on the PDM machine is causing a fire risk, and the company is now warning diabetic patients across North Wales.
The urgent field notice warns of PDM battery issues, battery swelling, fluid leaking from the battery, and extreme overheating, which may pose a fire hazard.
The letter also warns that the risk increases with older machines.
“Our investigation has determined that the Omnipod DASH PDM is at an increased risk if charged to full capacity, particularly if left to charge for extended periods of time, for example overnight,” the letter reads.
“Omnipod DASH PDMs in use more than 18 months may have an increased likelihood of this issue occurring.”
The company claimed no injuries had been reported as a result of the fault.
Warning signs to look out for include:
- The PDM’s back cover bulging or not closing.
- The PDM experiencing extreme overheating (uncomfortable to hold) or emits an odour, especially when charging.
- The PDM does not turn on within 45 minutes of being connected to the charger or turns off immediately after being removed from the charger.
- Or if the PDM battery loses its charge very quickly or if it takes more than one and a half hours to reach 80% charge.
Insulet was contacted for a comment.
Nick Lyons, acting deputy chief executive and medical executive director at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We are aware of safety notice letters sent to all patients that have an Omnipod DASH Personal Diabetes Manager due to reports from some users of battery issues.
“Patients have been sent information on what to do with their device, with advice depending on the symptoms it is having. Insulet have updated the device which addresses the issue, and these are being delivered directly to patients.
“If any of our patients are concerned about their Omnipod DASH Personal Diabetes Manager please contact Insulet’s Customer Care team at 0800 011 6132, or alternatively if you would like to speak to the Health Board directly please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service by calling 03000 851234 or email BCU.PALS@wales.nhs.uk.”
Patients experiencing issues are warned not to charge their Omnipod Dash PDM and are advised to promptly contact Insulet’s Customer Care team on 0800 011 6132.
By Richard Evans – BBC Local Democracy Reporter
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