Medical devices are one of the great modern medical miracles of our time. With them, people can know and understand their blood sugar, heart rate or even support someone who needs supplemental nutrition.
These devices are incredible, until they malfunction. A medical device that does not do its job can cause injury or death to the person who depends on it for everyday life.
Here’s what you should know about avoiding some of the risks that come with depending on a medical device.
Understand your device
Before you commit to a certain device, talk to your doctor and other medical providers about the recommended device and the alternatives. Ask to look at the manuals that come with each device so you can understand how they work and what could go wrong.
If you have people who will be supporting you with your medical needs, ask them to read about the proposed devices, too. If your caretakers do not know how to operate your equipment safely, you will be at a greater risk.
Before you go home with your new device, make sure your medical team walks you through how to use it. Make sure you ask questions, such as:
- What are the common malfunctions of this device?
- What number do I call if I need assistance?
- What is the process for getting a replacement if this one malfunctions or breaks?
- What activities are still safe with this device? Which activities are not safe?
Make sure you understand what the device does for you and how to perform all the functions. If you have an implanted device, you should know what to do if it comes out and whether you should try to put it back in, or if you should wait to get to the hospital.
Any device comes with risk
In many cases, having the device outweighs the risk of the device malfunctioning. However, you should be aware of the risks associated with your device. Ask about risks, such as:
- Incompatible software updates
Talk to your provider and know whom to call if something goes wrong with your device. Remember, if you have a medical emergency, call 911 so you can get medical attention as soon as possible.