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[IP] Airport Security

I have traveled on an airplane twice since I starting pumping last November. 
  I called MiniMed before my first trip to find out if it was safe to go 
through the X-RAY machines with the pump or if I had to disconnect and and 
put it on a tray while I went through the security machine.  The service rep 
informed me that it was perfectly safe for the pump to be worn through the 
machines, but that I might experience some problems if a guard "noticed" it, 
especially if it beeped.  At the time of my call, I had not even considered 
this issue.  She suggested I get a letter from my doctor stating that this 
is an insulin delivery pump worn to control my diabetes.  She said if I 
didn't have that, then I should always carry the manual with me.  She said 
if that didn't help, then I should be prepared to run through the setup and 
test programs to show them that it was not some kind of triggering device.  
My husband and I often travel with a notebook computer and the security 
personnel have, at times, requested that the computer be turned on and run 
through a couple of things.  I traveled twice with my pump, getting nervous 
about the whole thing, but I experienced no incidence both times.  I did not 
have a letter from my doctor.  I will be traveling to Poland in Eastern 
Europe in August so I finally asked my doctor for a letter.  I have to pick 
it up today.  I've usually carried a letter from my doctor stating that I 
was carrying syringes and insulin when I was on MDI whenever I traveled 
internationally.  Some countries required a document to be notarized by the 
country's consulate, too.

Teresa Covas email @ redacted

You wrote:

Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 22:41:42 -0500
From: Ed Girou <email @ redacted>
Subject: [IP] Arrest

Okay, here's my horror story.

Fitted with the Animas R-1000 pump filled with saline.  No manual.
Inaccurate, missing and misleading information from my CDE about this
pump (she prefers the MiniMed).  The CDE told us to put pump on Suspend
when disconnecting the infusion set.

I decided to wear the pump as if it was filled with insulin--calculating
carbs, bolus doses, checking the meter status, etc.  Had to go on a
business trip via airplane out of St. Louis airport.  So I stopped in
the restroom, put the unit on suspend and disconnected the infusion set
at my abdomen.  When going through security I placed the pump in the
tray for credit cards and beepers.  The pump sounded an alarm which
brought attention from the security idiots.  They looked at the pump
with the 42" of tubing and became immediately suspicious.  Why was it
sounding a signal?  So I explained it was an insulin pump, I am a
diabetic, and asked to have the meter to silence the alarm.  The
security folks couldn't figure out what was happening and called for a
supervisor.  During this time the pump sounded again.  (Later on when I
talked with Animas I discovered the pump will alarm every 3 minutes in
Suspend mode--the CDE *never* told me this!).

Security supervisor was very suspicious, but somewhat understanding.
And we agreed to remove the batteries to see if it would reset the
meter.  It did.  Everything was looking good.  So I started to put back
the batteries and when inserting the second battery the pump started a
different alarm tone which caused the security folks to scream at me,
spread eagle, searched, handcuffed and routed to an interview room.

After a lot of shouting, I convinced the security folks to allow me to
reconnect everything to prove that it was just a medical device and
nothing that would threaten airline safety.  Connected infusion set and
the loud alarm sounded again when inserting batteries.  Guns were
drawned, I was told to drop the pump, etc.

When things calmed down, I suggested calling my endoc, my CDE, etc.  Of
course, office was closed and CDE didn't share her pager #.  So I
suggested calling Animas at the 800-number on the back of the pump.  The
Animas support person was fantastic and "fixed" the situation and
explained the alarm signal....and she did it professionally with a bit
of humor.

I was cleared through security with apologies from the security

Missed my flight so I called Animas to thank the operator.  She could
visualize the situation and said she could see how untrained security
folks would react the the loud alarms.  But then she was annoyed that my
CDE checked-out a pump without a manual, without complete instructions,
etc.  The operator and I ran through some of the alarm signals.

I plan to write a formal complaint to my endoc about his CDE.

I am writing a message to the Dr./President of Animas to request that
they retrain my CDE in the R-1000 features and PROPER PROCEEDURES for
issuing trial pumps.

Question #1 for the list:  What do you do at airports?  I travel
extensively (domestic and international).

Sorry for the long response.

Teresa Covas email @ redacted

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