iFixit makes world’s largest medical repair database for free
I’m not super familiar with iFixit but thought this was cool. They organized 200 volunteers and gathered 13,000 different repair manuals for equipment that hospitals use, then made it available for free online:
Although these aren’t the most important documents you’d want to have saved for a knowledge library, if you’ve already got the basics covered this could be interesting to add to your collection. Super unlikely, but how cool would it be to be able to fix a ventilator or something in a SHTF environment!
pint of beer - May 28, 2020
does anyone know how medical equipment repair usually works? do hospitals have people on staff who know how those machines work, or like most other things, has it been outsourced and no one who actually uses the machines knows how to diagnose or even repair them?
Carter Murphy - May 29, 2020
Was just reading this Reason article about how staff members have been hacking their gear during COVID-19 because the medical companies are being corporate buttheads https://reason.com/video/hospital-technicians-ignore-copyright-law-to-fight-covid-19/
They do reference “biomedical technicians” with an interview of a guy on staff at a Houston hospital who seems to be an in-house techie. I dunno, but that sure makes it seem like some places do have techs in-house.
It sounds like what John Deere has done with screwing farmers on repairing their own tractors. And what many other companies are doing lately, where they say you don’t have the right to know how to repair the things you already paid for.
Matt Black - May 30, 2020
Thank you for this! This is exactly what I was trying to articulate and couldn’t remember which company(ies) were doing these sorts of shitty things.
Also, screw John Deere. 😉
Dusty - September 18, 2020
Most hospitals have a Biomed Dept. to repair a lot of the equipment. Larger equipment, ie, MRI repaired by manufacturer rep.
Matt Black - May 28, 2020
iFixit is an awesome, awesome resource! I’ve been following them for years. I love their tear-downs and guides. Reading this news just makes them even more awesome!
Supersonic - May 28, 2020
My view on this is a little less rosy. I think it’s a good idea for this information to be available, but it sets up a pretty dangerous situation if people who are unqualified to make these repairs start tinkering with equipment that is pretty specific in its operation. I understand how necessity may drive some staff to fix some things, and I bet it would work, but you have to remember that a lot of manufacturers insist that malfunctioning equipment be sent back to them for a reason. In a lot of cases, they don’t even repair the unit. They just swap it out with a new one and then refurbish the broken one, since they can spend more time doing that without having to leave the hospital empty handed.
Matt Black - May 28, 2020
I see your point and mostly agree with you, however any scenario in which one is attempting to repair, say, a ventilator is a situation that’s already pretty darn grim. Now, I don’t want that to come across the wrong way. I’m not suggesting that Jane or Joe, RN should go ahead and attempt it because, “what could go wrong?” However, I also understand how proprietary/”intellectual property” -type thinking leads to bureaucracy and/or knowledge-for-profit works and that’s not the sort of thing the world needs right now. Also, the shelves aren’t exactly overflowing with stock.
Essie Carroll - May 29, 2020
In normal times I 100% want any medical equipment used on me to have only been serviced by people who know what they are doing. But if SHTF and we’re on our own, I’d be okay with someone using a manual to try and repair a device we found instead of having no device at all!
Matt Black - June 2, 2020
Exactly my point. You said it better. 😉
ride - September 20, 2020
In my experience, repair manuals for equipment like this which are sent out to the end users (in this case hospital staff) will usually explain how to do simple repairs, and only go up to a certain level of technical skill (basic electronics technician training, for example). At the bottom of a basic troubleshooting guide, they might say something like “If this still doesn’t turn on, contact the manufacturer.”
The device company doesn’t benefit from users calling them with every question — that’s why they make the manuals in the first place.
Olly Wright - May 30, 2020
This is why we should all be supporting Right to Repair Laws!!
There are various laws being debated at state and federal levels. This article from February 2020 says Massachusetts is close to passing a RTR law for electronics https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/k7e7xm/a-right-to-repair-law-is-closer-than-ever
Here’s more about electronics RTR laws https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronics_right_to_repair
Looks like there have been debates about similar laws for cars for years https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_Vehicle_Owners%27_Right_to_Repair_Act
Of course the car makers and dealerships are against is, because they want to keep you at their mercy and not let you work on something that belongs to you!
Ef Rodriguez - May 30, 2020
Yep. Perfect examples of laws that will only happen if people like us call our politicians. If they only hear from the lobbyists, things will only get worse!
Matt Black - June 2, 2020
Exactly. If I own a thing, I should have the right to attempt to repair it (mobile device, computer, farm equipment, motor vehicle, etc.). “Intellectual property” and “proprietary rights” are ridiculous.
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