The fire department has eliminated regular maintenance of its defibrillators — prompting concern among some medics that the machines might fail.
According to the Daily News, the LifePak 12 — a $25,000 life-saving machine with a cardiac monitor that is installed in all 203 of the FDNYs Advanced Life Support ambulances — used to receive a regular tune-up every six months. But last month, maintenance service was eliminated and Assistant Chief of EMS John McFarland issued a memo stating the agency will "keep all expired LP12s in service."
The FDNY says that reducing repairs won't hinder their value as a life-saving tool. "The equipment is in good working order, and at no time are the people using the equipment or the patients in any danger," said spokesman Jim Long, who noted that the agency is currently shopping for a new defibrillator system, and has simply cut back on repairs on the old machines as it prepares to award a new contract next year.
Paramedics test the machines' cardiac monitors at the start of every shift — but some told the tabloid they aren't sure if the results are accurate. "It's unnerving," said one anonymous source. "If the device is out of date and fails, who is to say its own self-diagnostic can be trusted?" Patrick Bahnken — president of the Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics and Fire Inspectors union — worries about the dangers of the out-dated defibrillators. "Our concern is that as we try to 'stretch' the lifespan of these devices and get further and further from the time when they are supposed to be overhauled, we may have a critical failure," he said. "If the LP12 fails, it could cost someone their life."