While evolving medical technology definitely offers advantages to physicians
and patients alike, malfunctioning devices can also put patients at risk.
Let’s explore a few more examples of how medical devices can fail
or malfunction, and the possible consequences.
Just as files on our computers sometimes become corrupted and unusable,
so it can happen with computer-enhanced medical devices. File and data
corruption can occur for a variety of reasons, including improper connections
or even ill-timed power glitches. Device updates and regular monitoring
can reduce the risk, but sometimes mishaps fall through the cracks. Consequences
may include anything from incorrect or incomplete patient data to failure
of the device itself.
Similar to almost any computer, any network-connected medical device may
be vulnerable to hacking. (See our
post here for more on this subject.) The results of hacking may vary, ranging from
stealing of sensitive medical information to device failure. Hospitals
must exercise constant vigilance against this threat by making sure all
devices are up-to-date with the latest security patches, and by safeguarding
their network itself.
Improper Staff Training
Sadly, many instances of technology medical error occur simply because
the staff haven’t been properly trained on how to connect and use
the medical device in question. Misuse of the device can result in anything
from inaccurate readings to equipment failure.
Lack of Instruction to the Patient
For patient-controlled devices, proper instruction is critical to success.
Unfortunately, medical staff sometimes fail to provide this instruction.
As a result, the device may not yield the intended results, or it may
fail entirely when improperly used.
Many medical errors these days can be tied to some type of medical technology
malfunction. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result, we may be
able to help. Contact our
Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys for more information.