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This Week’s Creature Feature ... Just What Kind of Watchdogs Are We Talking About?

There’s a dark side to surgically implanted medical devices

“Watchdogs Want More Oversight of Artificial Knees and Hips.”
    So read the February 21 headline from Maryland News Connection, a startup statewide news service, leading us to wonder what kind of watchdogs they were talking about.
    We should have taken the story seriously, but we couldn’t get beyond the headline.
    In truth, this is serious business. Americans undergo nearly a million knee and hip replacements each year, yet there is “almost no government regulation, testing or monitoring” of these devices, warned the group Consumers Union.
    As it stands, manufacturers of these devices must submit their own clinical data and report incidents in which a medical device contributed to a death or serious injury. That law is set to expire unless Congress reauthorizes it.