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A Compendium of Medical Technology Malfunctions (Part 1)

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 6-Nov-2017

As technology plays an ever-increasing role in the practice of medicine, the risk of error due to technology malfunctions is on the rise as well. In fact, according to LiveScience, technology can now be blamed for up to 25 percent of surgery errors—an alarming statistic, to be sure. We’ve compiled a list of several of the most common malfunctions of medical technology, along with some of the possible effects of each.

Oversensitive Alarms

In many medical monitors and devices, sensors are frequently calibrated to set off an alarm at the slightest anomaly. This dynamic creates a sense of “alarm fatigue” in medical personnel and patients alike—not unlike the “boy who cried wolf.” If a genuine medical crisis occurs, hospital staff may be slow to respond to the alarm, putting the patient at risk.

Incompatible Configurations

Not all computerized devices are optimized to communicate with other devices, nor is there a universal protocol for these devices to connect. If a medical device is improperly configured to work within the facility’s IT structure, important medical data can get lost in translation, which may affect the patient’s treatment plan.

Missed Recall Notices

Like so many other products, medical devices are frequently subject to recalls due to design or coding flaws. Sometimes a simple update can fix the problem; other times, the device requires attention from a technician. Amid the flurry of paperwork and notices hospitals receive, recall notices sometimes get missed. At best, the device may not function optimally; at worst, it may fail without the proper fix.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a technology breakdown leading to medical error, we may be able to help. Call our Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys to learn more.

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