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Daylight Savings Time May Cause Adverse Events In Medical Equipment

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Do you use or rely on a medical devices or equipment for your medication, oxygen or for some other necessary reason? If so, you ought to read this warning published by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration over concerns that specific devices might cause adverse events due to the upcoming Daylight Savings Time change. Although the FDA is not certain which devices or equipment may be affected, it wants the public at large to be aware of the possible complications and problems especially in those devices that network with other devices and/or depend on the synchronization of clocks.

If a medical device or medical device network is adversely affected by the new DST date changes, a patient treatment or diagnostic result could be:
· incorrectly prescribed
· provided at the wrong time
· missed
· given more than once
· given for longer or shorter durations than intended
· incorrectly recorded
Any of these unpredictable events could harm patients and not be obvious to clinicians responsible for their care.

The FDA has issued the following recommendations to avoid these possible problems:

· As soon as possible, check with manufacturers for available patches or fixes for medical devices, hospital networks and associated information technology systems.
· Advise patients who use medical devices in the home to check with manufacturers for available patches or fixes for their devices. You may wish to provide them with a copy of FDA’s “Advice for Patients: Change in Daylight Savings Time May Affect Your Medical Equipment in an Unpredictable Way,”

· Assess your medical devices, hospital networks and associated information technology systems for the correct time on the four critical DST dates. The four critical dates in 2007 are:
o March 11 (Newdate for start of DST)
o April 1 (Old date for start of DST)
o October 28 (Old date for end of DST)
o November 4 (New date for end of DST)

· Be vigilant with clinical decision-making and use of medical devices during both the New and Old DST dates.

· Report any unpredictable medical device events or DST medical device-related problems to your biomedical engineer, the device manufacturer and FDA as noted below under Reporting Adverse Events.

More information about some of the affected medical devices can be found here.