Category: Medical Devices

This is Nuts!

Check this out. What you will see is a website dedicated to the support of those air travelers who have peanut, tree nut, or other severe food allergies. In particular, check out some news stories about flying with food allergies. Note specifically those dealing with auto-injectors on airplanes. EpiPens. Remember the scandal a few years ago when the price of these epinephrine self-injectors skyrocketed? Here’s an even bigger scandal. Airlines, you know the ones that serve peanuts routinely for some unknown reason, are not required to carry EpiPens.

Two points to be made here. The first is an obvious one. Why no EpiPen requirement on airliners? Although some airlines have added this piece of basic equipment to their inflight medical kits, there is still no requirement that all carriers do so.

Which takes us to the second and more general point. What kinds of medical emergencies should airlines equip their planes, and train their crews, to deal with? Medical emergencies onboard are scary propositions, and the old “Is there a doctor on board?” plea is of limited value. My son’s sister in-law, a physician on a plane returning from a stint volunteering in South America, responded to such a plea. The only problem was that the problem was a cardiovascular one, she is a subspecialist in ophthalmology, and the plane’s medical kit was devoid of any equipment that might be of assistance. The event did not end well.

Bottom Line. Isn’t flying scary enough for many people? Shouldn’t airlines be required to invest a few hundred dollars in some basic equipment and crew training to save a life that might be taken by a single peanut? 

Infographics Strike Again Medical Devices

I posted a few days ago about the sad state of the way in which the FDA deals with medical devices. Today, I saw another pickup on the same NYT article that I cited. The new blog piece, however, was adorned with the infographic pictured above. Bottom Line. As usual, when dealing with multifaceted data, a picture is worth a thousand words!

How Your Hip Replacement Can Kill You

Check out this NYT article. I don’t have too much to say about this piece. It  kind of speaks for itself. A couple of points sum up the message of the piece. First, the article points out that approximately 1 in 10 Americans have had at least one medical device inserted into their bodies. AND. I am sure that the vast majority of these patients never even thought about the safety of these devices. They just assumed that they must be safe, or they couldn’t be used. BUT. The article also shares the following quote, which is either a startling fact or an important reminder, depending upon how much you have thought about medical devices: “In fact, most high-risk devices on the market, including implants, have undergone no clinical testing at all.” That’s right!  The same Federal Government that worries that you might be harmed by believing a misleading “Lo Fat” label allows huge hunks of metal and other devices to be inserted into 1,000’s of patients’ bodies without requiring any testing. NONE! Bottom Line. The words “false sense of security” are dancing in my head. Think about the Healthcare Psychology of this. When should patients feel secure? When should they be concerned? What can they do about it if they are concerned? Tough questions!