Canadian Senior Consumer Safety

The state of medical technology has never been more advanced. Every day scientists are dreaming up new medical devices that change the world in which we live. These medical devices prolong lifespans, improve the quality of patients’ lives and help to treat conditions that were once considered untreatable.

However, there is a downside to all of this seemingly wonderful medical technology. As amazing as much of it is, there are some medical devices that can actually harm patients. When scientists and engineers release medical devices that are used to treat seniors, not all of them have all of the bugs worked out. These glitches in medical devices can cause a lot of harm to unwary seniors who have them implanted in their bodies. Here is a look at some of the most dangerous medical devices that seniors should be wary of.

Knee and Hip Implants

As seniors age, they often have to deal with problems with their joints. When these joints become too painful or simply non-functioning, many senior citizens turn to joint replacements to regain their mobility. As wonderful as these joint replacements can be, they have been known to cause a lot of problems when defective artificial joints are implanted in patients. Several manufacturers of knee and hip implants, including companies like Stryker, DePuy and Zimmer, have released artificial joints that corrode inside patients’ bodies. These corroding joints release metal into patients’ tissues and bloodstreams, causing metal poisoning.

Faulty Defibrillators

Another problem that many seniors deal with is a heart condition. When these heart conditions reach a critical stage, a standard treatment is defibrillation. Although the defibrillator is a miracle invention that has saved countless lives, there have been issues with faulty manufacturing of a popular model of defibrillator that is used to treat seniors.

This defibrillator, manufactured by a company called Guidant, contained faulty leads that released electricity outside of the leads. This was due to a poorly made coating over the electric wires. Because the company tried to cut corners with this cheap part of the device, it led to all sorts of problems for seniors and other patients who had the defibrillator used on them. The faulty leads shocked patients in places where the electricity was not meant to go, causing them a lot of pain and mental trauma.

In addition, because not all of the electric charge reached the ends of the leads, patients were not receiving the full output of electricity, which made the defibrillation that doctors intended not as successful. In the worst case scenarios, this meant the difference between life and death for patients. At the very least, it could lead to a longer duration of treatment.

It appears that another company is having the same problem with their defibrillators. St. Jude, a very popular manufacturer of defibrillators used on seniors, has issued a recall for the leads that their defibrillators are equipped with. It seems that they have the same problems as the Guidant defibrillator leads had. They are shocking patients and not giving a full output of electric charge when they are used on patients.

Seniors need to be aware that the potential for faulty medical devices always exists. Be sure to ask your doctor questions and to keep an ear out for medical technologies that could be faulty. Staying informed is the best way to stay safe.

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