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Things sometimes go wrong with airbags, food and drugs, prompting recalls. It can also happen with medical devices, though you’d think lifesaving devices like heart defibrillators or artificial hips would be closely monitored.

But the data needed to systematically and rapidly identify dangerous medical devices are not routinely collected in the United States.

It wouldn’t be that hard to do.

 Problems with medical devices are not infrequent. Defibrillators implanted in nearly 200,000 patients were recalled in 2011 because of a faulty part. More recently, the Essure birth control device implanted in women’s fallopian tubes has been associated with pain and deaths. Improper handling of duodenoscopes — used by doctors to examine the small intestine — was linked to hundreds of cases of antibiotic-resistant infections in 2013 and 2014.

 

 

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