Can implanted devices be used by someone else?
Q: A month back my father died of septicaemia and chronic heart failure. He was a heart patient for the last three years. Last year he had been implanted an A.I.C.D for cardiac arrhythmia (recurrent VTs). Unfortunately he could not survive. The device at that time cost us around Rs. 4.75 lakhs. Since we hail from a middle class family, I wanted to know if I can sell the product again at a low cost and if not, then can the device be utilised by some other poor and needy person? If so, is there any organisation/hospital or doctors available in India to help me in this regard?
A:Implanted devices are not used on another patient after the demise because it is not safe to reuse it. The device can not be made free of the body proteins especially the sockets in which the leads etc are fitted in. This will be especially true in cases who had septicaemia as the terminal problem. In the past, pacemakers used to be refurbished but no company can legally do it now. Unless one is sure that the device is certified free of infection or allergy because of the body fluids which have seeped in the grooves and sockets, it is very unsafe in my opinion. Patients who require ICD's are in general very sick patients most often with heart failure and extra precautions have to be taken. They should not be given resterilized devices unless somebody certifies it. Unfortunately no company does it at present.