As technology advances we’ve come to embrace devices that make our lives easier. Smart phones that surf the internet, play games, send emails, send text messages, tweet, take pictures and, occasionally, make a phone call. A single universal remote that controls your television, DVD player, cable box, sound system, and maybe even your blinds is another example. However, this interchangeability might not be ideal in all settings, such as your hospital room.
Hospital patients can have a multitude of tubing entering their bodies in order to provide fluids, nutrition, oxygen, blood, and medicine. It might shock many to learn that much of that tubing is interchangeable. The interchangeability spans across gaseous, intravenous, feeding tubes, and more. If liquid food or air is mistakenly put into the bloodstream it can be extremely damaging and even deadly. Many healthcare professionals are demanding that the FDA force standards groups to redesign the tubing connectors. For example, a feeding tube’s connector wouldn’t be compatible with an intravenous line’s connection so the two wouldn’t work together. A survey in 2006 found that 16 percent of hospitals had experienced a case in which there had been a feeding tube mix-up; a clear need for regulation. However, slow approval processes by the FDA and resistance from manufacturers have delayed any regulation from occurring.