Diabetes Insulin Pumps Victims of Airport Security
A walk through airport security could prove to be more than a minor hassle for people with diabetes who have an insulin pump or sensor. A new report suggests insulin pumps and insulin sensors may be damaged when individuals wearing them go through a full-body scan at an airport.
Is your insulin pump safe and secure?
It's not enough you have to take off your shoes, belt, jewelry, and jackets when going through airport security, not to mention separating your laptop from its case and your toiletries into baggies. If you have diabetes, especially type 1, you already have to be prepared for anything when traveling, making sure you take your medication on time, closely monitor glucose levels, and being sure to eat at the proper times, get sufficient exercise, and manage stress.
A new report in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics suggests people with diabetes who wear an insulin pump or a continuous glucose monitoring device may encounter a problem when going through a full-body scanning machine. The authors provide an example of a patient with type 1 diabetes and an insulin pump who was ordered to go through a full body scan even though she had a doctor's letter explaining the potential for pump damage if it was exposed to the scanner and requesting the patient have a pat-down instead.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners ignored the request, even though the patient had followed rules officially endorsed by the organization. She was told to go through the scanner and later reported the incident to the pump's manufacturer, who recommended she disconnect from the pump even though the company could not confirm the pump had been damaged.
As the authors of the report note, insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring devices are at risk of electromagnetic malfunction if they are taken through imaging devices. More specifically, here is a list of diabetic medical devices and imaging equipment that may cause interference: