Insulin Pumps and Teens, Bad Combination?

Richard Bacon
Richard Bacon
Local Endocrinologist William Biggs
Local Endocrinologist William Biggs

Teens and insulin pumps can be a risky combination leading to injuries or possibly death. That's what a new review by federal regulators finds.

Doctors say the insulin pumps are popular for teens because they allow insulin to be injected discreetly in public.

But some teens do not know how to use the pumps correctly or do not take good care of them.

Seventeen year old Richard Bacon says he was given the responsibility much too soon. The first time he used the insulin pump at age 12 he says he was not aware of his big responsibility.

"I wasn't trained that much about it because they wanted me to have it, they thought it was best for me, but they wouldn't tell me any of the bad sides of it."

Bacon says he wished he knew the risks because after using it in a pool, the pump stopped and he spent several days in the hospital.

"After it after it messed up and I had to go to the hospital I realized that I had to put my life in my own hands at that time," he says.

Local Endocrinologist William Biggs says sometimes it is hard for parents to balance giving their teen such a big responsibility while making them feel trusted.

"We usually encourage parents to still have supervision capabilities over this, we tell them it's your responsibility to look at the pump and see how it's being used, look at the blood sugars, you don't have to be hounding or nagging them everyday if they're responsible but don't completely give that responsibility to your children."

Over the last decade regulators found 13 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries connected with the pumps.

Parents are advised to regularly check in with their teens and make sure they know the risks.