Mysterious rash of defibrillator thefts

I watch the news for cardiac electrophysiology-related stuff, and most of it is press releases from this or that company about their new devices, but this article on theft of “crash cart” defibrillators is one of the more bizarre things I’ve seen. They say that it’s not affecting patient care, as they have more, but what if someone stole one and then a code was called. Someone could go to grab the crash cart only to find it missing (or defibrillator-less).

I figure the thief is either ignorant of the devices’ use and just grabbed them as a target of opportunity, or they have some diabolical plan to shock people. It’s not like other hospitals are going to buy them, and I’m sure the property management departments of the affected hospitals have reported the serial numbers to the police, so there go pawn shops. Can you see the sales pitch on Craigslist — “Slightly used high-voltage defibrillators. Bring your patients out of cardiac arrest! Amuse and kill your friends!”

Here’s hoping that the new year brings an end to this senseless theft.

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One Response to Mysterious rash of defibrillator thefts

  1. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    I am a former detective with the Veterans Administration Police in Chicago. I have been researching stolen medical equipment from hospitals for a number of years. These thefts have been going on for a number of years. In fact hospitals in Florida were hit real hard in 1998. The hottest items are endoscopes, ultrasound equipment such as machines or their individual probes, and heart monitors/defibrillators.

    Also AED’s are becoming a hot item, with at least 81 of them being stolen world wide since 2001. That an approximate number. It appears that some of them are being stolen for their lithium batteries. Lithium is an ingredient in the production of meth.

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