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Re: Linux Coming to Your Hospital

  • Subject: Re: Linux Coming to Your Hospital
  • From: Jim <james@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 16:49:41 GMT
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Organization: DotWare
  • References: <1161269093.637802.53360@m7g2000cwm.googlegroups.com> <RPOZg.29389$P7.11064@edtnps89> <g6lr04-tgt.ln1@ellandroad.demon.co.uk> <1161616304.404598.293350@b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>
  • Reply-to: james@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • User-agent: KNode/0.8.0
  • Xref: news.mcc.ac.uk comp.os.linux.advocacy:1170362
Larry Qualig came up with this when s/he headbutted the keyboard a moment
ago in comp.os.linux.advocacy:

> Mark Kent wrote:
>> begin  oe_protect.scr
>> Oliver Wong <owong@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> espoused:
>> >
>> > "Roy Schestowitz" <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
>> > news:1161269093.637802.53360@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> >>
>> >> Windows is known to
>> >> be crashing during surgeries
>> >
>> >     The only other source I've heard this from is Mark Kent. Do you
>> > another citation for it?
>> >
>> A patient in New Zealand died because his records could not be found in
>> time.  It was reported in the press, and it wasn't /me/ who reported it
>> here, it was someone else.
> "A patient" (one)... New Zealand died... records could not be found in
> time.
> Certainly sounds like it's because of Windows. What other proof or
> details could you possibly need. It's well known that when 'records
> can't be found' that it's always because of major OS problems.
> BTW... Great job reasoning this one through!

"...a person is guilty of criminally negligent homicide when, with criminal
negligence, he causes the death of another person...".
Also: "A person," in turn, "acts with criminal negligence with respect to a
result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when
he fails* to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result
will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such
nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross
deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe
in the situation."
 - New York statute. Source: FindLaw.com

*either by omission of action (ie not carrying out proper risk assessment)
or not being properly trained in such procedures, or omitting risk
assessments to meet time constraints.

This does not only apply to risk of infection by eg doctors and care staff
not observing proper hygiene. The fact that Microsoft 2000/XP is prone to
a: malware b: viruses and c: unexplained crashes is enough that there is a
perceivable and *avoidable* risk to patients' health, and any solution
provider who recommends such a system (albeit against the terms of the
EULA) in my measured opinion deserves a: lynching b: the full weight of the
law against him and c: to lose his job and every asset he has ever owned or
ever hopes to own.

Now, to distinguish act from omission, which are two legally separate
entities; the /act/ of installing and configuring such an unsuitable system
and the /omission/ of not even bothering to evaluate its suitability for
purpose (which in the case of medical equipment is a requirement anyway, to
be carried out from the initial planning stages right through to final
retirement and disposal on a constant basis). Prosecution is acted upon the
action, not the omission. In this case, the charge levied would be one of
criminally negligent homicide in the worst case, criminal negligence in the
best case; for which not only the equipment operators will find themselves
liable, so would the system integrator.

An example or two of death related or directly attributable to software

 In 1986, two cancer patients at the East Texas Cancer Center in Tyler
received fatal radiation overdoses from the Therac-25, a
computer-controlled radiation-therapy machine. There were several errors,
among them the failure of the programmer to detect a race condition (i.e.,
miscoordination between concurrent tasks).
Or consider the case in which a New Jersey inmate escaped from
computer-monitored house arrest in the spring of 1992. He removed the
rivets holding his electronic anklet together and went off to commit a
murder. A computer detected the tampering. However, when it called a second
computer to report the incident, the first computer received a busy signal
and never called back.
 - "Measuring The Risk Factor", Yamini Munipalli (Stickyminds.com)

OK, not recent, but that's first-page Google hits using the keywords
"medical device software failure death". 2.3 million hits for your perusal.

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   Someday this war's gonna end...
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