Ethics in Medicine

Do Some Surgical Implants Do More Harm Than Good. New Yorker

Kristen Sparrow • May 22, 2020

Do Some Surgical Implants Do More Harm Than Good. New Yorker

I’m still working on my shelter-in-place project called “Deep Toughness: the cutting edge science behind ancient practice and modern health hacks” (still working on the title).

The list of implants that carry well-documented dangers goes on. In 2004, there was a recall, affecting ninety-six thousand people, of two types of cardiac stent, for design flaws that could lead to perforations, heart attacks, and death. In 2012, studies of stent implantation in more than seven thousand patients found no benefit in preventing heart attacks or death in patients who had the devices placed electively, rather than in emergency circumstances, such as during a heart attack. In 2007, the F.D.A. recalled the Sprint Fidelis defibrillator, affecting more than a quarter of a million patients, almost two-thirds of whom were in the U.S. Recently, some breast implants have been associated with an aggressive form of lymphoma. In 2013, thirty-three thousand inferior-vena-cava filters were recalled, after it emerged that, rather than stopping blood clots from reaching the heart, they actually caused them to form…

Schneider writes, “It is more likely for Toyota to know about faulty exhaust pipes in a Prius than DePuy to understand how a new hip implant is performing in the United States.”