TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Questions About AEDs

AEDs -- those defibrillators that you're seeing more and more often, and, if you're like me, think, "Do I really want that guy working at the One Potato Two trying that thing out on me?" -- are becoming more and more common.  Today, in a JAMA piece (subscription only, see this Washington Post piece for a good overview), researchers indicate some concerns about the devices' reliability -- but emphasize that the risk/benefit ratio is still good.  From the Post story:

Harvard Medical School researchers found that over the past decade, one in five automated external defibrillators were recalled because of the potential for malfunction, and devices that failed were associated with 370 deaths.

Nevertheless, the devices have saved tens of thousands of lives, and the benefits outweigh the risk of malfunctions, said study author Dr. William Maisel.

"The number of malfunctions may be alarming to some, but you have to take it in the context of the large number of patients saved by these devices," he said.

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