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Accident and Forensic Investigations involving Medical Devices


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Accidents will happen in healthcare – but is technology failure or human error to blame?

Date and Time

28 March 2014 - 14:00-15:15


London, United Kingdom - icon_popup  (See map)


Organised by the London local network.

About this event

The last few decades have witnessed an unprecedented growth in the quantity, complexity and variety of medical devices available for the diagnosis and treatment of disease, together with radical changes in the way in which they are connected to and interact with the patient. As recent history bears testimony, accidents will happen and in many of these cases medical devices will be involved, but will not necessarily be to blame.

This lecture will look at some of the mechanisms by which such incidents occur and how they are investigated. The parts to be played in investigations by scientists and engineers will be explored, as will the role of other professionals, such as clinical staff, equipment manufacturers, the police and the coroner.

The presentation will emphasise the importance of looking beyond the prevailing culture of blame so as to learn lessons from these investigations and apply them in order to help prevent similar incidents occurring.

The lecture will be illustrated with a number of examples of real-life investigations from the speaker's own experience.

About the speaker

Alastair Deller worked in the field of Biomedical Engineering for over 40 years - 23 of which were spent in the NHS at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, where he was Director of Clinical Engineering.

He left the NHS in 1994 to help establish the European Office of ECRI Institute, a world-wide independent non-profit health services research agency. ECRI Institute specialises in the provision of information and technical assistance to the healthcare community to support the planning, acquisition and management of medical technology and to improve patient safety. Until his retirement at the end of 2012, he was their European Technical Director, specialising in the management of healthcare technology and adverse incident investigations involving medical devices, working with both healthcare providers and the police.

He is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Scientist and a Registered Clinical Scientist. He was also a visiting lecturer at both London and Surrey Universities for over 30 years, teaching postgraduate students about medical instrumentation, technology management and accident and forensic investigations. He has also been actively involved in professional activities with both the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.


12:00 to 13:45 – lunch in the Senior Common Room.
14:00 to 14;45 – lecture in the Seminar and Learning Centre (follow signs from Level 5 lifts)
14:45 to 15:15 approximately – questions and discussion


Lecture free; optional lunch available to purchase

Additional information

Delegates taking lunch in the Senior Common Room select and pay for food and drink individually.   Light refreshments may also be purchased there after the meeting.


Registration information

To register, please contact Brian Lovell, or telephone: 020 8995 0661 by the previous Wednesday evening.

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