Instruments: Complexity, Trouble & Triumph

"We can't keep a pacemaker going more than two years," complained one cardiologist. "Manufacturers don't service electrocardiograph machines," wailed a hospital administrator. Last week medical men with such plaints got together in Boston with physicists, engineers and manufacturers in a 4,000-strong symposium of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. Purpose: to find cures for sick tools, from ailing pacemakers to leaking artificial kidneys.

Since the days when the stethoscope and blood-pressure cuff were the only instruments that most doctors used, medical technology has acquired a huge array of machines...

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