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

Jeanne Lenzer. Little, Brown, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-34376-3
Lenzer, a former physician associate who ditched her career to become an investigative reporter, exposes a dark aspect of the “medical industrial complex:” flaws in the development, regulation, and use of high-risk implantable medical devices. Lenzer focuses on the case of Dennis Fegan, a former Texas oil rig worker and firefighter whose vagus nerve stimulator—implanted to reduce his epileptic seizures—almost killed him. Through Fegan’s story, Lenzer sketches “a complicated web of human error, corporate manipulation, and regulatory failure” while delving into the massive problems that plague healthcare: inadequate clinical testing of high-risk medical devices, the FDA’s vulnerability to political interference, and ethically questionable corporate sales pitches to doctors. Lenzer concludes that the “underlying problem is the fact that we insist upon treating health care as a commodity rather than a common good.” Her platform of solutions includes reducing unnecessary treatments and tests, insulating researchers from market forces, converting to a single-payer health insurance program, and reforming the compromised FDA. Lenzer makes an excellent, often disturbing case for “a new national attitude toward healthcare.” (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/27/2017
Release date: 12/12/2017
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-316-34378-7
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