Flaws in medical coding can kill

According to this article, “Spread of computers creates new dangers, FDA officials warn“.

My initial reaction was “what crap is that?”, while there are mishaps,inconveniences and ‘dangers’, they are mostly in the technical aspects of things, however, further reading into the article had me thinking. Yes, while the though had occured before, it just never really hit home – Flaws in programming in medical devices can KILL.

It seems that a flaw in a computer code in a lifesaving medical device that caused a drug pump to administer heavy overdoses, this resulted in the death of hospital patients.

Scary? Here’s more, according to the article, of 23 recalls last year that the FDA classified as life-threatening, three involved faulty software, what’s worst is that detecting fault software, is not an easy task.

Take an implantable defibrillator for example, the source code can easily run over 100,000 lines and cover a multitude of possible actions (logic) that could take a decade for the device to run through.

Food for thought mates.

About Adam Chee

Health Informatician
This entry was posted in Blog - Health IT. Bookmark the permalink.

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