Thursday, February 19, 2015


This is about the fifth blob in this series. You will not understand this post without reading the others.Though I thought of many people I might complain to, and tried to reach them,  none of them proved to be of any help to me.
Then, as I was perusing my problem, I noticed a phone number right on my flex pen. I was surprised, but, naturally, I made that call. After waiting through the unavoidable computer-based questions, I found myself speaking with an actual person. I identified myself and began voicing my questions / complaints. This lady patiently heard me.
I knew she could never say anything self - damaging to her company. In other words, she could not agree with anything I said. To make a long conversation short, she told me over and over that all Novolog users must follow their directions to the letter. I agreed. But I told her that many people in declining health might lose the ability to follow the simplest directions. I said "what a shame that death awaits anyone who makes this error."
Though she remained patient with me, we never reached agreement on anything. We discussed a product called Levemir,  manufactured by her company, Novo Nordisk, which does NOT have this death trap, having  a window with no other way of reading the pen incorrectly. She stopped way short of saying that this new technology could replace the old; also refusing to admit that anything could be wrong with the old product.
She told me this entire conversation would be forwarded to the complaint department. I thanked and asked that they would call me. She seemed doubtful that that would happen. It has only been 2 or 3 days, but it could happen. But probably won't.

The Real Problem

Here it is. I discovered this on my own while looking at my Novolog Flexpen dispenser. If a person who happens to be entering mid-range Alzheimer's or dementia (or even a bit tipsy) or one with extreme poor eyesight reads their Novolog  insulin dispenser incorrectly, they could be dead within 3 to 4 hours. Perhaps I will re-post this soon with photos to help explain it.
The dosage number is supposed to show up in a window. Let's say a person wants to inject 16 units. But if that person fails to look properly at the injector, missing the window,  the  number 16 will show up at a higher point, as the person cranks at the gauge. Seeing the desired number, he/she could inject. The number shown in the window, not noticed by the patient, could be about 43 units. This could be fatal in a short time. (The person might feel the effects and take corrective measures in time to save himself.) But if he soon took a nap, or otherwise failed to identify the onset of symptoms, he could be very dead very quickly.
The same problem exists with Lantus, but Lantus is a slow acting insulin that would be less dangerous in the short run. Many other insulin pens are surely guilty, but I haven't encountered them.
The answer to this problem seemed painfully simple to me. Simply make the body about 1 inch longer, making it impossible for the numbers to appear  at the higher point. The plunger would also need to be 1 inch longer in order to function properly.
How many years has this disaster been going on? I wish I knew.
I am sure many people have also noticed this awful oversight. Are they complaining also? I wish I knew.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Warmin' Up

Okay.... I know that some pharmaceutical companies are killing (or sharing half the blame) in the deaths of many people. They have such a strong hold - also known as a strong lobby - with the U.S. congress and the Food and Drug Administration that they are ignoring the simple facts. When confronted with irrefutable evidence, they can comfortably say "prove it". And they can smirk. Why? Because the one person who might provide damning evidence is now...... DEAD. Yep.
I discovered this tragic situation a few weeks ago all on my own. I made a  presentation to my most trusted health care provider; a woman who literally saved my life 2 years ago in an unrelated issue. She agreed that my complaint is valid. I told her that I did not expect her to demand changes. The issue is too huge for that. I showed 2 of my pharmacist friends this horror. I assured them that I expected no action. They both saw my point and agreed with it.
Now, am I the only one who knows of this? Of course not. But I am the only person I know who is doing anything about it. I am sure my words will fall on many deaf ears. All I need is for s-o-m-e-o-n-e to take up the cause.
This has been going on for years. Here is a tidbit of good news. At least one newer competing company has a product that could slowly turn the tide. However, this may take time. While people continue dying. I am solidifying my plans to bring attention to the problem. I have no interest in personal gain.
Yes, I will get to the point (fully) soon.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Small vs Large

Picture Cyrano de Bergerac against a huge windmill. Better yet, imagine little Tom Thumb vs Babe the Blue Ox, who dug the Grand Canyon. My complaint against a huge pharmaceutical company could be even more imbalanced. However, I believe that something must be said. I took this concept to a professional at my medical clinic. I told her that I was not seeking any financial gain whatsoever. She agreed that my point was very valid. Being extremely busy, she couldn't suggest too many courses of action. She wondered if I should write to the offending company. My thought was that a minimum wage mail clerk would be the only one to see it before it hit the round file. I left there, wondering if an attorney (one who specializes in medical lawsuits) would have an interest. I determined that if I involved such a law office,  I would not offer my services for free.
I soon arrived at a local law firm. The lady I spoke with informed me that the Utah Bar Association does not allow any  attorney to share wealth with any non-attorney. Even if hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in profits were at stake. I questioned her at great length, eventually walking out without having shared one fragment of my concern with her.
I was back  to my earlier commitment of  hoping to expose this horror with no thought of  personal gain.       (Note) If all else failed, and if I had no other hopes of educating the public, I would have to let an attorney move forward without me. The goal, after all, is to educate, not to line my pockets.
My next step was to call a local t. v. station hoping to give an editorial on air. The man said he would call me back, but it didn't happen.
So, where am I? Let's see. I can contact the following entities: The Utah chapter of the American Diabetes Association; The Deseret News; Get Gephardt; Congressman Jason Chaffetz; and, ultimately a competing company who seems to be doing things right. Who will listen to me?
Perhaps I can somehow spring some meaningful discussion. Or perhaps I will just be a lonely old man, griping and grousing about something that matters to no one.
My next few blogs (blobs) will inform you, dear reader, of the actual problem. I will also report on my progress with my planned contacts.Please stay tuned.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Disaster?

Hello..... Something is bugging me to an enormous extent. Please bear with me.
According to Healthline (on Google), 29.1 million Americans suffer from diabetes. One in four people over  65 suffer from it. Those are huge numbers. For this excercise I will dwell on Type 2 diabetics.
Google reports that there are 1.13 traffic deaths per one hundred million miles driven in the U.S.
Okay, it seems obvious that (comparatively speaking) a certain (unknown to me) number of folks are also dying from prescription mistakes. Let me zero in on one that may be a real horror.
Let's say that of 29.1 million diabetics, about one third take insulin. 10 Million. My guess. I'm just starting this project so my numbers are surely general. Moving forward, I will guess that each insulin user injects twice daily. That would be 20 million injections daily. (Not counting pump users.)
Let's say that IF about 1.13 persons were to die from a tragic mistake per 100 million injections, that could result in about 1 death every 5 days.
The true numbers surely widely differ from these numbers. However, I am convinced that each death is preventable. Tragically, I am afraid that the true numbers might be much, much higher.
Those with the greatest health issues are the most susceptible.
I will be blogging (blobbing) more in the near future. I will announce each new blob with a short entry on Facebook.
Hold 2 fingers 1 half inch apart. That represents what I have written. Stretch your arms out. All the way. That's what I hope to be writing until I have presented this whole concept. Wish me luck. I've never done anything like this.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

In December I Facebooked that, as a small child, I had mistaken a song as "let us know, let us know, let us know", when in fact, it was "let it snow, etc". Fast forward to the present. Barbara brought 4 kids to see us on Friday, Jan. 16. Eli, Kaydence, Quintin and Addison. What a fun group of kids! They headed for the basement to explore the place. They were soon playing our seldom-used old electronic organ. We could hear them screeching a song. Babs laughed, saying the song was "Let It Go" from "Frozen. I was astounded, because Julia Warren Kohler had just posted about her kids overdoing that same great song. That song, like my old tune from the 1940s, was about cold weather. I was suddenly struck with a brilliant idea. I went running down the stairs. The kids all went respectfully silent when they saw that I wanted their attention. I breathlessly announced my remarkable discovery to them."Kids", said I, "Let it Go" is a lot like a song from my childhood, named "Let it snow". I have never in my life met with such dumbfounded looks.