This article from the New York Times isn't about medical devices with electronic components. It's about the artificial hips that have been so much in the news this past year. As the Times reports, all-metal artificial hips represent "[t]he most widespread medical implant failure in decades," and I draw attention to the controversy here because of the lesson it holds for all medical device designers.
|© Sebastian Kaulitzki|
According to the article, the failures of these devices are expected to cost billions of dollars before it's all said and done. Footing the bill will be taxpayers, insurers, and employers. One patient who received one of the failed implants has received medical bills that exceed, by several times, what he paid for his home. That doesn't even count his suffering after spending about five months without his left hip due to complications incurred from an attempt to replace his failed artificial hip.
In all, about half a million U.S. patients received all-metal hip implants, according to the Times. There's no telling how many will have to have them replaced, but one expert told the paper it could be in the tens of thousands.
It's a tragic reminder of what's at stake in this business.