Death of My Freestyle Navigator


I have been a Type 1 diabetic for over 26 years. This last year, I started having problems with my blood sugar dropping extremely low causing me to pass out. I decided to get a continuous glucose monitor to warn me that my blood sugar was dropping. I wanted to get a Freestyle Navigator because that appeared to be the best system currently available. My insurance company originally turned down the request and I had to appeal that decision. I won my appeal and on November 14th, a trainer came to my house to get me hooked up and I started using the Navigator successfully.

On Friday, January 29th, less than 3 months after getting the Navigator, I started having problems wth it. The following Monday, a customer service rep at Abbott agreed that they would replace my receiver because of the problems. However, the receivers were on backorder and they had no idea when they would get them in.

It is now March 12th, six weeks later and I am still sitting here without a Navigator. About two weeks ago, Abbott started calling customers telling them that they were tentatively going to start shipping out receivers the week of March 8th. On March 8th, I called to see if that was still going to happen, and I was told they were in the warehouse. On March 9th, I called to see if mine had been shipped – they told me it was processed but could not tell me if it was shipped or not. Emails were flying everywhere among Navigator users and by midday, I had heard that none of the receivers had been shipped.

Also on the 9th, I received two phone calls from people higher up at Abbott – I had written my insurance company a letter to let them know what was going on and they called Abbott. My insurance company is one of the largest in the state of Pennsylvania, so I was looking for assistance in getting this resolved. Abbott was continuing to sell new systems but they weren’t replacing existing ones.  I was then told by Abbott that the receivers were in the warehouse but they had to go thru extra steps because of FDA regulations before they could ship out. The reason they were on backorder was a quality control problem. They were trying to get a receiver for me from one of their distributors because that would be faster. The following morning, I received another phone call saying that the receivers would not be shipped out this week and they did not know why.

Today (Friday, March 12th), I called the person in the corporate office to check on the status and she still did not know why they had not gone out. I let her know that people were not being called and the only way they were finding out that they were not being shipped out is when they called to ask. She said that they were going to be calling customers by the end of the day – big surprise that did not happen.

Last year, Abbott did this same thing with their transmitters (which are also on backorder this year along with the receivers). It was a two month period last year that people were without a usable Navigator. I thought that problem was more growing pains than anything else and they would learn their lesson – obviously, they did not.

I am extremely disappointed in Abbott. They could care less about their customers. This is a medical device that people get for a reason – they have hypo-unawareness and don’t know when they are dropping low. The folks running Abbott obviously don’t understand what it feels like to zonk out and wake up 3 hours later with blood all over your face because you smashed into something. My insurance company paid to get the most expensive CGMS on the market to prevent that from happening and I am not able to use it. I have sensors that will expire – those babies are expensive to have to just toss out for no reason.  But Abbott has their money so who cares what happens to me and other people in the same boat that I am.

I would encourage anyone interested in buying a Freestyle Navigator to buy a Dexcom. The Navigator is the most accurate, it is the only one of the three current CGMS’ on the market that checks blood sugar every minute as opposed to five minutes, but Abbott does not back up their product.
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3 thoughts on “Death of My Freestyle Navigator

  1. I can’t believe that you are being treated this way by Abbott! To think I use their Freestyle Lite – makes me consider switching with what I’m reading here – but it uses such a small droplet of blood compared to other BG monitors in the market.

    BTW, I have heard many great things with the Dexcom. Still not here in Canada, but when/if it does make it to our country, and I feel it necessary (after 42 years of being a PWD still hypo aware – but that might change with time) to be on a CGMS that is the one I would chose. I did try out the CGMS from Medtronic when I test drove their MM522 Paradigm pump. I wasn’t too impressed with it, and having two objects stuck in me (infusion set and sensor) – plus it alarmed alot at night – and caused me to actually have probs at work (in the end I had to quit – but not just because of the CGMS – but the job I worked in and how they related to my diabetic routine caused me to retire from that position).

  2. Hi Kelly, I hope this blog helps you to get things off of your chest. I have always felt that writing is a big help when you feel helpless. I did not think that we would be in this position again with Abbott and am trying to convince myself that the Dexcom wouldn’t be too bad, but I am afraid that we are spoiled. I am also afraid that she will sleep through the alarms on it, but I guess we could use that coins in the glass trick!

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