Flashback Monday -Verify Facts Or It Can Blow Up In Your …. Chest?

Originally Posted on October 7, 2010

I recently received a few tweets and retweets about “A Rare Case of a Spontaneously Exploding Defibrillator”. Naturally I was intrigued, well, because I have a defibrillator and would not really think it fun to have one explode in my chest.

I clicked on the link for the story and was taken to a blog maintained by “Dr. Wes“. In his blog, there was a brief story with not much detail about the incident, but there were two photos, one of some unidentifiable metal object, and another of a man’s torso with a large circular burn. The photos gave me my first “hmm” because the metal object was large and round, not flat like a defibrillator. His blog explained this as the defibrillator’s battery exploded and caused the deformation. The photo of the burn was also in a strange place. I could not exactly tell, but it seemed closer to the shoulder. To me it seemed pretty high and to the left for an icd implant.

I don’t exactly believe everything I read, and I need to see it in multiple places to accept if it is true, especially if written on a personal blog. I googled the incident and could come up with nothing. My second “hmm”. I went back to Dr. Wes’s blog to see if he had any link or referrals for his information. He said he read the article on an European site and provided a link to the web site. When I clicked on the link, I was taken to the site he referred to but you had to be a member of the site to see anything.

I went again on an intensive search for any related articles I could find. I tried every word combination I could think of, and after many tries, the only thing I could other than Dr. Wes’s blog was an obscure article, one paragraph long of an incident in 2003 where a battery malfunctioned during testing while being implanted, and “popped”. Nothing about ribs broken etc. as some commentors on his blog had said they “heard”.

I am not saying that the incident did not take place, but to me something so dramatic would surely be reported somewhere in the medical community. I know conspiracy theorist would have a field day with me on this, but I too am skeptical until I have evidence from multiple sources.

Today I went back to Dr. Wes’s blog to see if there were any other posts that led to the authenticity of this post, and he had taken down the entry in the interest of “Practicing defense blogging”.

Although this could be true, there is such a danger when the public starts blogging and putting information out there that becomes the “truth”. And then a thousand people latch on the story and the urban legend becomes reality. As bloggers, we have to be so very careful of what we put out there. People believe everything they read, and that can be dangerous. Think of the ramifications this blog entry could have if the incident is indeed a hoax. I am happy he took down his entry, as apparently his source has retracted the story from their site.

As a blogger, I give my insight into my situation. It’s my opinion on my life. I just wish many people out their that are patients and have blog remember that they are patients, not doctors or medical practitioners. We may think we are experts on our condition, and we are. But we are not experts on the condition itself, just our personal experiences with it. So when we blog, we need to refrain from dispensing medical advice, and to make sure what ever stories we come across and intend to reblog are true.

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