When technology fails patients: nanoparticles as a result of medical device failure

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  2. Dr Matthias Wienroth
  3. Dr Pauline McCormack
  4. Professor Tom Joyce
Author(s)Wienroth M, McCormack P, Joyce TJ
Editor(s)Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies
Publication type Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)
Conference NameS.Net Annual Conference
Conference LocationTempe, Arizona, USA
Year of Conference2011
Source Publication Date7-11 November 2011
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This poster reflects on emerging public engagement activities around research concerned with the study of failed artificial hip joints. The design of joint studied – metal-on-metal resurfacing – proved to be remarkably unsuccessful, causing the dispersion of high levels of cobalt and chromium nanoparticles into the blood with the potential for unknown health effects. Researchers at Newcastle University identified that due to a design flaw the artificial joint wears quickly, releasing billions of metal nanoparticles into the bodies of patients. This has caused considerable media and legal attention. The emerging public engagement activities introduced here, aim to empower patients and their families. The aim is to engage with, and articulate with other stakeholders about: the impact of the failed technology on patient lives; the ambiguities of medical devices, in particular artificial joints; and potential ways of addressing the failure and related uncertainties, ambiguities and risks of nanoparticles from medical devices.