Hundreds of deaths and serious injuries can be attributed to mix-ups with similar-looking types of medical tubing. Experts and standards groups have long advocated that tubes for different purposes be made so that they are incompatible with each other.
However, this has been delayed by resistance from the medical-device industry, as well as an FDA approval process that can discourage safety-related changes.
The New York Times reports:
“Tubes intended to inflate blood-pressure cuffs have been connected to intravenous lines, leading to deadly air embolisms. Intravenous fluids have been connected to tubes intended to deliver oxygen, leading to suffocation. And in 2006 Julie Thao, a nurse ... mistakenly put a spinal anesthetic into a vein, killing 16-year-old Jasmine Gant, who was giving birth.”