Readers of your soaraway Shoot Up will recall that m’colleague and I were invited this weekend (along with a bunch of other European bloggers) to Medtronic’s Swiss lair to discuss all things diabetes. Which was nice.
The general consensus of received opinion is that giant medical companies are pure evil – crushing patients beneath the heal of their cruel jack boots in an all-consuming passion for profit. Dark rumours also circulate that companies like Medtronic delight in causing unnecessary and pointless suffering to puppies by drowning them. Just for kicks.
I have to confess that the latter rumour was started and circulated exclusively by me; but, you know, no smoke without a fire. I’m sure I glanced a lorry load of tiny, mewling Labradors being carted in through the back door of their lair. When I asked about it, I was threatened by jump-suited minions, so I just kept schtum.
Anyway, Medtronic aren’t pure evil. They’re a business like any other. They’re not a charity who make medical devices just to get a warm glow; they do it to make money and there’s nothing wrong with that. Working with “expert patients” and “thought leaders”, and whatever they called us, is a Good Thing for both the company and us unwashed masses.
The way that I see it is that if Medtronic get useful feedback about, say, pumps from the sharp end they’ll make better products. If they make better products we get to use said better products, have a better life and they make more cash. We all win, don’t we?
Anyway, let’s get past all this opinionated guff! Let me tell you about the meeting itself.
As always, the informal chat over dinner was the best bit; both with our fellow bloggers and diabetics and with the Medtronic staff. They told us about their plans and latest products and we told them what we thought. All good wholesome stuff. We also had a brief chance to meet the big cheese of Medtronic diabetes – Julie Foster (Vice President Diabetes International) – who gave a charming and inspiring speech. Which was, of course, met with boarish heckling from two people who shall remain nameless (I apologised directly to Julie for Mike’s terrible and shocking behaviour).
The next day we had presentations in the Medtronic lair from Product Manager Julien Vandewalle, who told us about the latest in CGM developments, which was exciting for those who use CGM (Alison’s gone into more detail about this in her post). We then had a very interesting presentation by Hannah Gough (Clinical Study Manager) about the latest medical studies being carried out by Medtronic.
After sushi (yeah, I know, la-de-dah, eh?) Aurélie Duplais talked to us about blogging and the Internet after which we broke off into groups for a discussion on supporting the diabetes body and the diabetes mind. Which was all very interesting, controversial and, actually, reasonably well–informed.
Stopping only for a picture of a monstrous group hug (I mean, really!) we then jetted back to our respective homes.
So all-in-all a very worthwhile and informative weekend. I hope we represented your views at least moderately accurately. Thanks, again, for Medtronic for putting us up (and putting up with us) and thanks to my fellow bloggers, with whom I had some great conversations and debates – amongst them I felt like a complete dunce in terms of diabetes knowledge and opinion!
In fact, if you want some further, non-Shoot Up reading I’d check out my fellow bloggers here:
So at the end of the day we all won. Aside, of course, from those poor puppies.