The assertion that “plumbers run the world” belies the premise that letting innovation drive
engineering design is sufficient. While plumbing may seem dull for engineers drawn to new and
shiny designs, often a greater proportion of effort is required for mending (maintenance) to help
sustain making (innovation). In medical device design, incorporating reusable can be both
resource-sensible and eco-friendly. In addition to the primary user (e.g., clinicians or patients),
secondary users for maintenance of the device should also be considered. From a human
factors perspective, there are important lessons to be learned from use (rather than user) errors.
In this talk we will review when plumbing/maintenance issues have proven dangerous design
flaws and discuss design considerations for the safe and effective use of medical devices.