What Happens When Devices Don’t Work?

Had Mr. Goldman left the operating room during the procedure, another doctor might reasonably have assumed that the medication was acting swiftly and reduced the patient’s dosage. That might have led to a life-threatening blood clot. Mr. Goldman was concerned. If one critical device was set incorrectly, how many others were also wrong? He secured a grant for a comprehensive survey…

The results, presented recently at the CPSWeek conference in Beijing, are unnerving. Of over 1,700 devices checked, only 3% were found to be accurate to within three seconds. One in five were off by more than 30 minutes…The average error was a staggering 24 minutes.

More on defective medical devices in The Economist.

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Bruce says:

    We’re all lucky to be alive.

  2. Buster says:

    Very scary!

  3. Studebaker says:

    Wasn’t there a report recently claiming that it is (theoretically) possible to clandestinelyhack the software that controls a heart pacemaker? That would certainly make for an intriguing who done it murder mystery.

  4. Devon Herrick says:

    Reports like this make headlines. Yet, the medical device industry has a good track record of safety. If it were otherwise, the worst offenders would have long since been litigated out of business. The same is true for the hospitals that operate medical devices.

  5. Bruce says:

    VERY scary to think that more than six times as many devices are off by half an hour than are working properly.

  6. Buster says:

    [O]one ultrasound machine was running 42 years (and some minutes) early. The average error was a staggering 24 minutes.

    Oddly enough, my old Apple iPhone, that I bought used on eBay, always seems to know the correct time regardless of where I am. I guess that’s why they call it a “smart” phone!