A Compendium of Medical Technology Malfunctions (Part 2)

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 7-Nov-2017

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.

Data Loss/Corruption

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.

Cybersecurity Risks

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.

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