Re: [SystemSafety] Therac-25 redux

From: Les Chambers < >
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:54:21 +1000

Try this radio station. It calms me down.

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Hills [mailto:safetyyork_at_xxxxxx Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 2:23 AM
To: 'Peter Bernard Ladkin'; 'Les Chambers'; dick_at_xxxxxx Subject: RE: [SystemSafety] Therac-25 redux

Hi Peter,

Which suppliers would you wish to exclude? And why?

We supply development tools so we see medical developers wanting to use Windows and Linux (with USB, wi-fi, blue-tooth connections which frightens the life out of me given that 90% of patients in Hospital will have wi-fi and Bluetooth enabled devices and USB sticks. ) and less than robust software development.

True this is usually, but not always, just the front end and not the underlying device that actually controls things. Though the embedded SW development for the devices that do the controlling is also on the cheap and cheaper ethos with lots of use of free software. I have seen better engineering attitude in companies making consumer items.

I currently have a medical company looking to use the *cheapest* static analysis tool from the cheapest supplier arguing that if the medical robot starts to malfunction the surgeon can simply switch to manual so they don't need a high end validated static analysis tool. They would actually prefer to save 10 GBP and buy from a box shifter than buy from a supplier with support and expertise in critical systems. Though they still think they can ring in for some free advice!

It is not so much a survey of dependability but a complete overhaul of the way the industry thinks and works that is needed. I think we have been very lucky so far in the number of problems that have been caused compared to the number I feel (on anecdotal evidence) are lurking and could cause a problem at any time.

OK... time for tablets, a cup of Green Jasmin tea and some tranquil music lest I end up at the mercies of this dubious medical equipment.


-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Bernard Ladkin [mailto:ladkin_at_xxxxxx Sent: 20 August 2014 11:12
Subject: Re: [SystemSafety] Therac-25 redux

On 2014-08-20 11:31 , Chris Hills wrote:
> Hi Les, Peter and Dick
> Re the discussion on Therac-25 and medical software

I think you are right and Dick is right that the medical-device supply industry is not universally conforming to good practice in dependability. We are not the only people who think the industry generally needs to get its act together (since I don't work in the field, my view is also largely indirect). But I don't know how to put a discussion group together on dependability in medical devices that would exclude suppliers.

PBL Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, Faculty of Technology, University of Bielefeld, 33594 Bielefeld, Germany
Tel+msg +49 (0)521 880 7319

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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Thu Aug 21 2014 - 00:54:51 CEST

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