I have several implanted medical devices which manage my chronic pain. The first is an
RF-spinal cord stimulator
) and the second is an intrathecal pump
(manufactured by Medtronic
). Both devices communicate with programmers by radio waves.
Now, I realize that incorporating a certain degree of "smart" technology is necessary for them to work properly. However, these implants also
contain other types of information that are not
necessary for them to work. I wouldn't have known just how much if I hadn't changed pain
clinics (I no longer go to the same doctor who implanted the pump and the stimulator was implanted by still another doctor).
Spinal Cord Stimulator (programmer & implantable leads &
During my first doctor's appt at the new clinic, an antenna
placed over my pump as it is at every refill (to access information about how much medication is left in the reservoir, what medication it is, when it
will run out, etc.). In addition, the programmer also displayed my name, age, date/location, the doctor who did the implant, alarm dates, other
medical information, etc. The sheer amount of data was really shocking! Then, my new doctor turns to me and asks, "Are you (Firstname Lastname) of
such-and-such, etc., ..." to confirm the data!
Intrathecal Pump The pump itself is usually implanted in the
lower abdomen on the right or left side and is attached to a catheter that delivers small amounts of opioid medication to the epidural space of the
At the time, I thought he was kidding... Refills can be a bit scary for people who aren't used to having needles poked in their bellies so it isn't
uncommon for someone to try cracking a joke. But, I saw the display on the programmer myself and the data was really quite extensive!
I am completely dependent on my implants. When my pump needs it's battery changed in another 2 years, I just can't say, "Not now. Let me know when
they come out with an RFID-free version." So, the question is, did I have the opportunity for
and if not, what could I do about it?
There have been various debates
on ATS over the years about how RFID chip technology may constitute an invasion of privacy and could ultimately become the newest plaything for
identity thieves but I never had the chance to say "no" to this (although I did consent to the devices). Is it already too late? Should patients be
advised of the data that will be stored in their medical devices and be asked to consent to that as well?
FYI: Other ATS threads that mention incorporation of RFID technology in medical implants include:
RFID in hospitals could pose risks!
Me RFID Chipped-Without inforned consent
SCI/TECH: "Intelligent" Implants In The Human Body
Microchip implants cause malignant tumors in lab animals
"Intelligent" Implants In The Human Body
RFID chip: would you say yes?
[edit on 20-4-2009 by X-tal_Phusion]