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Re: [IP] Millenium bug (sorry, long)


With the greatest respect, I find your head-in-the-sand ignorance about
potential millenium bug problems alarming. There are loads of things
that could go wrong on 1/1/2000 with any piece of equipment that holds
the date. For computers, the rollover from 1999 to 2000 is often a
unique moment in date handling routines. That's where bugs show up and
programs crash. The cautious and sensible are assuming that any date
sensitive equipment or software WILL fail, until they have tested it,
and verified that it DOESN'T fail.

On a pump, if it's working out the delay before the next 0.1 unit
squirt, and instead of the usual 4 minutes it gets -99 years, there
could be some problems...

I asked my question because, while I know that my Minimed507 doesn't
hold the date, I've no idea about other pumps and models. Bg meters
often do hold the date (my Dex does) so there's a potential problem
there until you've checked it out. You may find you lose the record of
the last 100 tests, or at worst the software in the meter could simply
stop working, and the meter become useless.

Checking your meter (when you have a moment) means setting the date to
12/31/1999, testing as normal, waiting till the next day (1/1/2000),
testing some more, and then checking back through the readings from the
previous day, and possibly downloading it to your computer if that's
what you normally do. If anything goes wrong, at least you still have 20
months to buy a new (different) meter. If you wait until 1/1/2000, you
may just find that all the shops have suddenly sold out...

I forwarded your response (anonymously) to my doctor, and this was his
response (Y2K is short-hand for year 2000):

> I agree John, that response is deeply troubling.
> Here is a snip from an American, my Y2K group has been advising recently ...
> Hospitals are not the safest of places at the best of times but on 1/1/2000
> they could get a whole lot scarier.
> ************ SNIP *****************
> I am a Director of Technology Management (Biomedical Engineering) tasked
> with
> identifying the risks within our system of ten acute care facilities and
> numerous clinics and home health entities.
> My team is, quite frankly, horrified at the risks within the laboratories.
> A few of the manufacturers have told us to not test their product with a
> date roll-over, for fear that
> it will experience catastrophic failure.  You know what?  They are right.
> We have had significant hard crashes with chemistry analyzers, hematology
> analyzers and urine analyzers, coagulation profilers, and immuno-assay
> analyzers.
> A technology cousin most usually found in Respiratory Care
> Departments, the blood gas analyzer, is also quite risky.  And, of course,
> in terms of risk assessment, here in the United States most of our surgical
> procedures rely on blood gas analyses once the patient is anesthetized.
> And the imaging devices that our physicians rely on to see inside the body
> are not in real good shape either.  Many of the imaging manufacturers have
> outsourced their programming through the years while they developed the
> illustrious million-dollar hardware, so remedy is not imminent.  So, at
> last we are able to substantiate those fears that have been identified as
> hype and chicken-little!
> My colleagues, I shall not be a frequent web-buddie, simply because time
> does not permit me to sit in my hotel room and chat.  My advise is to get
> off our laurels, quit inquiring about who is doing what, forget the
> presentations, quit chasing the soothsayers and prophets of doom, and get to
> work!
> ***************End SNip*****************
> You can pull there heads out of the sand of course but they still need to
> wipe the sand from their eyes :(
> Alistair Austen is the Y2K compliance developer for Glaxo Wellcome... he
> writes ...
> "check out this site......
> http://www.itrain.co.uk/fry2mbon.htm
> It contains an interactive guide to Year 2000 problems and there is a
> downloadable version available.  Just give that to any disbelievers
> leave for approx. 90 minutes (the suggested study time) and observe
> change in attitude after that."
> I will forward your email to a colleague who is on the governments taskforce
> 2000 ...
> while we are waiting you may find the following site useful for your
> searches .....
>      The US government has put a bio-med database on-line. It consists of
>      responses to their Y2K survey of medical device suppliers. The URL is
>  or look it up on the index pagehttp://www.fda.gov/cdrh/newpg.html

Frightening. In the meantime I shall also check out the clock on my
central heating boiler (it could be a cold New years day...) and my
fax/answerphone, not to mention my video recorder, camera (that puts
dates on the negative), in-car service record computer (it might refuse
to start if it thinks the engine hasn't been serviced for 99 years)

Before anyone gets alarmed, it's possible that there aren't any problems
with diabetes equipment. But until we know that for sure, it would be
sensible to assume the worst.

Sweet dreams.


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