Deaths and serious injuries involving medical devices up 29%
The number of patients killed or seriously injured by medical devices rose by almost a third last year, according to official figures.The statistics from the health products watchdog are likely to raise fresh fears about the safety of some types of surgery and medical technology, in the wake of the faulty breast implants scandal.
Overall the number of reports of “adverse incidents” involving devices received by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency rose by 13 per cent in 2010, to reach 10,280.
Of these, 301 cases were fatalities – a 50 per cent rise on the previous year – while 2,382 involved serious injuries.
Investigations by the MHRA showed that about a third of the incidents were down to the “healthcare establishment or user responsibility”, while a similar proportion were the fault of the manufacturer.
About a quarter of the cases involved “active and inactive implants” such as pacemakers, replacement hips, gastric bands and even contact lenses.
But the report also highlights the problems raised by French authorities over the safety of silicone breast implants made by Poly Implant Prosthese (PIP), which has led to a row between the Department of Health and private cosmetic surgery clinics over who should pay for their removal and replacement.
About 15 per cent of the incident reports involved problems with surgical equipment and a similar proportion was concerned with life support machines and incubators.
Other patients suffered problems with wheelchairs, artificial limbs, syringes and beds or hoists.
Tags: Doctors, Health Professionals, National Health Service, NHS, NHS Deaths, preventable crisis