Monday, 19 July 2010

Dear Abbott,

Back in February, we had an epic pump saga. Two broken pumps, three broken replacements, followed finally by two working pumps.

You apologised. You said you didn't know how it could possibly have happened. You said you would take steps to make sure it would never happen again. You set your nurse onto us; she also apologised and said she would look into it.

I didn't hear any more from you, but I assumed you might have actually been looking into quality control as well as the warehouse storage issues.

Last week, Mog's pump packed up. The new one, from February. It screamed its screamy alarm; school reset it, it settled for a bit, then screamed its screamy alarm again. And had in the meantime mysteriously reset itself to feed not 120mls/hour but 19mls/hour. Cue one mildly dehydrated child and one very long night waiting for it to catch up.

I phoned you, to ask for a replacement. And you told me you had no replacements in stock, and that I would need to just make do. I explained this wouldn't work, and you reluctantly agreed to send out a replacement not within the six hours you promise, but the next day. Thankfully, Mog was able to borrow school's pump for the rest of the night.

Today, three days after the replacement pump arrived, I have had a phone call from her class. Mog is on a school trip today. And the pump has failed. One big screaming F-26 error, one pump which has reset itself to its own preferred settings, one class trip disturbed and one child once again not getting the nutrition and hydration she is supposed to receive. She can't borrow the school spare this time, because she is not at school.

I will phone you again when she gets back from school, but really, what confidence can you give me that this next replacement pump will actually be working as it should?

You don't consider the fact that the pump will neither deliver the correct dose nor alarm to indicate an error if the tube gets a kink to be a fault. Yet you designed the tube and the backpack, and designed the tube to be too long to sit in the backpack without kinking. You don't consider it to be a problem that the pump will not always recognise the fact that it is empty, and will, on occasion, pump air into the stomach for hours on end if it has been knocked over. Your suggested solution is to set a dose; this does not help when the dose is 1Litre and the pump is knocked over at the start of that time. And you consider a wide variation in dose actually delivered to be perfectly acceptable - I put 500mls measured dose into your pump, sometimes your pump tells me that was only 450mls (which means my daughter has had her food too fast, an issue when it is running at a very slow rate), and sometimes it tells me she has had 500mls when there is still 100mls left in the bottle. With a 700 calorie diet, delivered with 700mls feed, that's quite a variation in what she actually receives over the course of the day.

You have a policy which requires erroneously delivered supplies to be incinerated, even if these are in sterile bags in sealed boxes and have simply made a journey from your warehouse to my front door and back via courier. You insist I call you on an 0800 number (which is not free from my mobile phone) and seem to think using the pump is an optional extra rather than a necessity. I would love that to be true.

To be fair, you did send us out a very nice new rucksack to replace the one with the broken zip, and it arrived the following day with no hassle at all. Thank you for that. Could you please fix the other problems though, and provide us with a pump which is safe, reliable, and accurate? Is that really too much to ask?



k said...

you, dear woman, are a warrior. a strong advocate for your kids. i so admire that quality about you, but wish you didn't have to keep proving it.

cheers to a new, working pump when it comes your way.

Doorless said...

As if life isn't hard enough ! Then you have to deal with an inept company to furnish one thing that is a very basic necessity.
I do hope you have a new more reliable pump very soon.
A xouple years ago I was able to buy a used pump to keep as a back up pump. It was only used a few months and is in very good condition.It was not very expensive vs buying a new one!

Anonymous said...

Please tell me you've sent that letter to them!!! Those pumps are a nightmare! Really hope they buck up their service very soon...
Catherine x

Tia said...

In fairness to Abbott, I phoned them once Mog was home from school (with malfunctioning pump which reset rate ad dose to 0 whenever it was placed on hold). They sent out a replacement which arrived within 90 minutes - very impressive. And they totally agreed that we need a spare back up pump for Mog. They can't supply one at the moment because apparently there are none spare; waiting on a delivery. But as soon as they have had their delivery they will send an extra one out to us.

Doesn't change the fact it's a fairly rubbish bit of kit, but at least we should be able to keep her feed doing in at a reasonably steadyish rate. It's better than squeezing it in by hand.

Tina said...

I too was going to suggest you send the letter to the company.
Hope the replacement lasts a while.

PMDPeter said...

What a nightmare. Luckily dont have a pump to bother about but Abbott were either 'all right' or 'all wrong' with everything else when they were our supplier. It took the threat of a direct contact with the CEO/MD for them to settle down to 'All right' most of the time.
As we all know, pumps are 'life saving' bits of kit for those who need them and its about time that all the suppliers made reliable kit. In these days of high level repcision electronics it isn't difficult.

Caroline said...

I phoned them Saturday as Sam's started screeching and flashing F-04 - there said they were very low on stock and couldn't get one out immediately ! I phoned a friend to see if they had a spare, but in the mean time J got very angry wih the pump and banged it very hardseveral times and it started working again :)

I do agree they don't seem to last very long though and with all the other problems you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

That's disgusting!!!! It's not as though the girls use them for the heck of it. Give 'em Hell, Tia. Do like Peter did and threaten to go to the top next time something goes wrong and they seem a little slow to sort it.

Lisa B
Hampshire, UK


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