thousands of children injured every year by medical devices

A study published this morning on the website for medical journal Pediatrics has some pretty scary numbers for parents whose children use contacts or are treated in the emergency room. Researchers from the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health found that nearly 70,000 children are injured every year by medical devices,

The study looked covered visits to the ER between 2004 and 2005, and it did not include information regarding children who were already hospitalized.

The most dangerous medical device, according to the study, was contact lenses. These accounted for almost a quarter of all medical device injuries. Some of these injuries proved to be preventable on the user’s side, assuming he or she used the contact lenses correctly.

However, some of the other injuries showed evidence of potential negligence and medical error,

Puncture wounds, drug reactions, infections and abrasions stemming from examination and treatment made up a good deal of the remaining 75 percent of medical device injury. Some of these injuries were believed to be caused by product malfunction, but many seemed to be the result of misuse by nurses and doctors.

One of the problematic issues addressed in the study is the fact that many devices which are approved for use in adults also end up being used to treat younger patients. As such, the most serious problems uncovered in the study were the result of medical device implants.

The researchers involved are working hard to understand the how and why of these injuries in children, as well as adults, and hope that this research will provide a better understanding of medical device injuries and how to prevent them.

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