The Danger Within Us: America's Untested, Unregulated Medical Device Industry and One Man's Battle to Survive It

Cardiac stents, artificial knees and hips and pacemakers are just a few of the well-known medical devices routinely implanted into humans. But as Jeanne Lenzer expertly discovers in The Danger Within Us, they are not as rigorously regulated as pharmaceuticals. Their side effects are not tracked. Many either don't work as advertised or do more harm than good, and some are used for purposes other than originally intended, with dire results.

Blazing a new trail in medical research, Lenzer examines these medical devices and the industry surrounding them. Rather than looking at multiple cases, she focuses on one man with epilepsy, Dennis Fegan, who had a vagus nerve stimulator implanted into his neck; the consequences were life-threatening. Not only did it not regulate his seizures, it left him with a wire and blood clot embedded in his jugular vein.

Lenzer follows the money: from manufacturers to doctors who push these implants on patients, receiving bonuses and kickbacks from the sales. Furthermore, she uncovers a lack of regulation at the federal level for these products. "Medical inventions... are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., killing an estimated 225,000 to 440,000 Americans each year." It is a scary scenario that needs to be addressed on multiple levels. For anyone considering surgery, or who has had surgery and suffered strange or unexplained side effects, this book is a definite read. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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