Omnipod failure

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! And here’s a story that no one but you guys will get.

We did “thanksgiving lite” at EH’s mom’s house, one friend came and EH’s mom and dad. This would be day 3 on the OmniPod (future comments on that)!

Literally as I was hauling the turkey from the oven, EH walks into the kitchen and points out his pod is leaking insulin all over. So we find some rubbing alcohol to prepare a new site and go take a look. Apparently while he was modeling the pod (by raising his arm) to his dad who’d just shown up, he must’ve dislodged the cannula. It was on day 3 anyhow. But man, the timing.

After the pod replacement (the first one on our own for real) we got back to dinner making and serving. But there were some tense moments because he’d just boulsed 18u with 50% upfront and 50% on an extenddd bolus for 150g of carbs and we were not sure how much got in there.

Dinner is just done and dishes are cleared and he’s now heading up from 118 with a 45% arrow on the Dex. But most of the day looked like this:


Call them and get it replaced. That’s a freebie.


Yay! Free stuff!!!

All I could think was “weird! @Kaelan probably makes that motion 100 times a day while swimming laps! I wonder if he has pod failures?”

I figured I’d call tomorrow after the turkey and pie wears off.


I’ve had a few where the cannula came out, a few occlusions, a few strange failures. It happens on occasion, but not too much. Sucks that it was your first one. They are fairly stable for the most part.

As long as you have a syringe (not a pen, I mean a real old-school syringe), you can always pull insulin out of a failed pod and use it until you can replace the pod. As an emergency solution, a syringe can get you out of most any jam. Put a few in each of your cars. (I’ve even used a syringe as an emergency lancet.)


Good plan. Syringes are pretty small so that’s good.

I’m curious if you store an unused pod in your car if it would still be functional with all that heat.

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I don’t keep one in the car. If it comes down to it, I’d just pull the insulin out and use the syringe until I got home.

I think they would last a while. They contain batteries and some materials (such as the plunger in the reservoir) that could eventually be somewhat susceptible to heat. But you could swap them out of the car every few months and I think you’d be fine with that. At least in California, probably not in some of the arctic places like Wisconsin or Canada. :snowman:


Ha! It reached an unusually hot 85° yesterday on Thanksgiving. So I don’t know how well they would do in intense heat. But they might be OK. We did have an entire box full of different sized/different brand batteries explode in our home office this year. We don’t have insulation, and it gets really hot in that room. Now I question how much heat batteries can actually take.


I’ve had none of the above, but I have had a significant number that slowly leak, or back up, especially towards the third day. I tried to prevent this by never bolusing more than 9U at a time. Then I went down to 6 when I read somewhere that that was Medtronic’s recommendation. Now I’m down to 5.

But yeah, @TravelingOn, they’re great about replacements. Never be afraid to call. I had a long chat with my favourite customer service rep the other day about how they “track and trend” every reported problem, because they genuinely want to improve the pods and improve the experience. And they want you to get the full 72 hours, so if anything goes wrong, whether or not it’s the pod’s fault, they will replace it. At least this is my experience in the Great White North.

Now, if only I could get Apple to adopt that approach.


For some reason, when i first started on the POD I got a lot of leaks between the cannula and the skin and had some cannulas pull out. I tried some changes to how I apply the POD (and have had a lot of practice doing it) and now I never have a problem, but I can’t really put a finger on what I changed.

My current technique is to try to stick the cannula end down first so that you get a good seal at the cannula location. Then when I hit the “START” button I squeeze up the skin around the pod and at the same time put pressure on the end of the pod with the cannula. I believe this stops the “recoil” from the canaula insertion and makes sure the cannula is solid in the skin and does not pull back during insertion. I can’t prove anything. It just works so I do it.

I used the word cannula nine times in this post including the quote :laughing:


This is what I do – though not so much pressure that pod indents the pinch-up. I also give the pod a hard rub after applying but before activating, so there’s a good seal all over with the adhesive.

I also had leaks when I first started, but those leaks were very obvious – they filled the little window and it was soon clear from my tests that I wasn’t getting any insulin. Leaks in the past couple of months have been much more subtle. The window looks clear, and any leak is not immediately obvious from BGs, and even when I touch, I’m not sure if it’s damp or I’m just feeling the stickiness of adhesive. I’m told my technique is spot-on, so I’m not sure what the problem is.


Thanks @Beacher and @Aaron and @Eric. These are really helpful tips. We will try out the techniques in a couple days. In theory, one should be able to raise their arm over their head with the pot attached and not have a problem.

I’ll give Insulet a call Monday.

Out of curiosity, do you plan when you initiate a new pod, or do you just carry all the stuff around and do it on the fly?

I don’t carry anything around except the PDM and the strip holder. And I also don’t plan anything for D. I just do it when it fits.

When you swap just depends on your circumstances. It’s different for everyone, but here are a few things to consider:

  • After putting on a new pod, it helps me to do a small bolus to make sure everything gets started. Because of that, putting it on right before bedtime, or when I am low is not ideal.

  • It sticks better when your skin is super clean. After a shower is ideal.

  • If there is a usual time-of-day when you generally have spare minutes, then doing it every 3 days at that same time is ideal. Routine makes it easier to remember. For me every day is different, so I just do it whenever I find a few minutes.

For what it’s worth, their support is open 24x7.


I plan, in a loose way. I count on swapping pods in the morning, after breakfast (though I work at home, so it often ends up being whenever I get around to it).

  • Reason 1: Like @Eric says, it makes it sort of a routine. (I feed my sourdough starter every third morning as well, so if the stars align, I attend to them at the same time.)

  • Reason 2: As you’ve no doubt discovered, the pod alerts you when you’re nearing your change time, and if you’ve been clever about it, you’ll also get a low-reservoir alert around the same time (some mornings can be quite musical). The way I’ve got it scheduled, these alerts will start up after I’m already up and about in the morning, rather than at 4 in the morning or later in the day when I might be in a meeting or something.

Incidentally, I never carry around a spare pod just in case. I may regret this one day, but for now I figure I can always get home within a few hours.


Depends what’s in the pot. :grin: But no, you’re right, this is a normal manoeuvre (that’s maneuver to you) that I would not expect to make the cannula come out. I do find, though, that in certain places, such as right on my sides, movement can make the adhesive come looser sooner. I just stick down some Opsite (around, not over, the pod).

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There are a few scenarios when I will always have necessary supplies to handle a POD change and/or a Dex CGM change:

  1. when I’m working in the office (rather than at home). A few weeks ago I had a my first POD failure while in the office (and I was very glad to have a spare POD and supplies to change it out).
  2. when I’m traveling/ out of town.

Thanks for everyone’s replies. We’ve attached a new one last night, and tried the pinch up and extra rubbing to make it stick better. Not sure if I managed to stick the cannula side down first or not. But, so far, so good.

Also, I called Insulet and they asked me a number of questions which I wasn’t expecting. They wanted the defunct pod info (which I had, since I made EH save the pod in a ziplock). Also, the most recent BG reading, and they wanted to know if we’d used the syringe that came with the pod when it was opened, and if he’d been hospitalized based on the pod failure (eep! NO!). Probably a few more questions too.

I’m reporting back here as I thought maybe someone else would want to know these things.

Also, as an FYI, the pod replacement/helpline people are not the same as the ordering new supplies people at Insulet, and the ordering new pod people are only on the phone from 8:30am-7pm EST.

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These are standard questions. I’ve been asked the hospitalization/seeking-medical-attention question every time I’ve called, regardless of the reported problem, and they always ask for pod lot number and sequence number. And the questions can vary, depending on what problem you had or what problem-of-the-month they are focusing on. Sometimes they ask about signs of blood. Sometimes they ask about where the pod was and if the area was lean or fat. Sometimes they will ask what the site looked like when you removed the pod. Often they ask if the pink slider was in the correct place. Sometimes they will want just one or two BGs and once, but only once, I was told “we like at least six results.” And once, but only once, I was asked for the PDM serial number. Sometimes they want the pod returned; other times they don’t.

It’s important to recognize that they are not challenging you. They want all this information in order to improve the pod. I set aside about 10 minutes for the phone call.

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In Canada, there is an ordering POD website which works 24hrs a day.

Just sayin’ :laughing:

Oh, no! I didn’t think they were challenging me. I’m actually glad that they’re collecting all of that data – in the hopes that it will improve diabetes management for everybody out there. The phone representative was very polite.

I wanted to post about it so other people new to allow some time too. :slight_smile:

Good to know the questions may vary!

@Aaron thanks for sharing about the website! I hadn’t heard about it, and I’ll look into it!

We had a pretty disastrous ordering experience (their sales guy couldn’t figure out who we were or which one of us to contact, EH was then approved by UHC insurance for pharmacy coverage of the pods, paid out of pocket for the PDM, price misquoted, they never returned our frequent and repeated emails for assistance with finding a trainer anywhere in the state of California, they sent the supplies and we never heard back, we finally found new endo who’s NP/CDE who found us someone in our town with no help from Insulet for another two weeks), thus so far I am not impressed with Insulet. Although the call to report the pod malfunction was good. So that’s a plus. If their sales team is a flop, better that than the support team or the R&D team.

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Another failure this morning. We are 2 pod fails out of 3 pods now. It’s the morning of day 3 on this pod, should’ve gone until 6pm.

EH was drying off after showering and the towel apparently caught it just right and it ripped the adhesive away from the pod. Funny thing, the adhesive was still very stuck! But he couldn’t tell if it was still working or not as it was flopping about so we replaced it.

Customer service was more brusque, but still helpful today and is shipping a replacement out via ground service (7 business days).

I am hoping we can get three days without a malfunction on this one. Tried somewhere other than the arms.

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