One third of Australian medical embeds fail Y2K tests : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

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Hospital systems fail test for Y2K By ANDREW McGARRY 6jan99

ALMOST a third of computer-related equipment in South Australian hospitals, including cardiac monitors and drug distribution systems, have failed the millennium bug test.

Of the 22,761 systems tested in South Australia, 7042 were non-compliant. ==============

Not a 1% failure. Not 2%. And not 5% either. More than a THIRTY PERCENT failure.

Do you think for one momment that it is only hospitals that suffer a thirty percent failure. Now think of Oil refineries, cracking plants, automobile manufacturers, heavy industry of all sorts.

Oh I guess they will only have a failure of one tenth of one percent and it is ONLY hospitals that have such a huge failure.

Won't be long now. -- Paul Milne If you live within five miles of a 7-11, you're toast.

-- a (a@a.a), January 06, 1999


"Oh I guess they will only have a failure of one tenth of one percent and it is ONLY hospitals that have such a huge failure. " In a way, this is true. You cannot extrapolate from one data point. You can't use any method (mathematical or logical) to prove or even hint at any conclusion. Yes, this hospital has 1/3 non-compliant systems. So what? You can't conclude that other systems will also have 1/3 non- compliant systems. Some may have 100%; some may have 0%. Your lack of information doesn't support TEOTWAWKI. It just shows you have no information.

Troll Maria

-- Maria (, January 06, 1999.

Oh great! Now this forum has lowered itself to quoting chickenshit quitters. Perfect........

-- b (b@b.b), January 06, 1999.

marie & b: yes, Milne is an imbecile and a quitter ... because he posts news articles that cite FACTS and refuses to toe the pollyanna party line...

Give me a break.

-- a (a@a.a), January 06, 1999.

Which only goes to show that you can never really prove anything about Y2K, only take what info you have and make your own choices. Personally, common sense leads to me to at least worry that perhaps if one hospital has such a high failure rate on such life critical devices, maybe others would too. And that the entire embedded device issue may affect other life sustaining things, like electricity, clean water, etc., in addition to oil refineries etc. But, thats just me.

-- Jack (, January 06, 1999.

Hey a - how do you cite facts when no one is talking about their status? Recon that's the part that gets me. I know my corporation is ready but we haven't announced it yet (I'm one of the ones over the project). I also know my power company is ready and I've got that in writing. They are a generating station too - I'm pretty sure that means they generate their own power (please correct me if I'm wrong).

How can Paul cite facts when the information to derive at them just don't exist at this time?

-- b (b@b.b), January 06, 1999.

I've got to agree with Troll Maria on this one. I work with chemical processes. One data point tells you nothing. Well, it can tell you what you want to hear. But you need lots of them for spotting trends and verification.

-- margie mason (, January 06, 1999.

b, I'm going to go with Maria's point. How can you know for sure? You can't say you're 100% because no one is ever 100% compliant. So, you can't be totally sure, that power company can't be totally sure. NO ONE can be totally sure of what will happen within the next few years. NO ONE.

You say your corporation is ready. That's great! Have they looked at those they do business with? Have you and your corporation considered the marketplace that you will be operating in? There is where the real questions are and IF you are prepared and ready you may actually grow during the disruptions rather than disappear altogether. But, no one can no with absolute certainty which way and how bad things will go in the next few years.

Of course, there is always warping time... have you done this? Perhaps time travel? Now, there is some serious technology we could use right now!

This is the year... it's starting and building and coming upon us now. We're on the shore in that great scene from "Final Impact". You know... waiting on the beach... you the pollyanna, me the doomer... and you're looking in my eyes as that wave approaches trying to catch a reflection of what's coming... the only real question is how big will that wave be? oh... maybe there is another question you'll ask...right at the moment of realization... "hold me!"

Mike ====================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, January 06, 1999.

Look guys...I have read Milne's posts on c.s.y2k for 6 months. Milne has cited more hard hitting y2k facts than any other single source on the net, GN included. About 90% of the replies to his posts (y2k related) attack the messenger, or engage in semantics and other debating diversions. The bottom line is that, despite a lot of official pronouncements, there is extremely little reason for optimism at this late date. Pretty soon it is going to be time to duck and cover.

I've done my best to warn the public. But as will always be the case, there are "get its" and "don't get its". You folks just plain don't get it.

-- a (a@a.a), January 06, 1999.

Lets just say, for the same of argument, that the probability that Y2K is going to be a big fizzle is 80%. And that there is a 20% probability that its going to be TEOTWAWKI. (Obviously, I am grossly simplifying here, as I don't allow for anything in between, but this is just for the sake of making a point.)

If you prepare as if its going to be TEOTWAWKI, and it turns out to be a fizzle (which you would expect, given the probabilities), you have lost very little. If you don't prepare, and the 2 out of 10 chance for TEOTWAWKI occurs, you are a goner.

None of us know what will happen. You pays you money and you takes you chances.

-- Jack (, January 06, 1999.

"Which only goes to show that you can never really prove anything about Y2K, only take what info you have and make your own choices. "

a., Jack is right. Has nothing to do with prooving or disproving. Troll Maria refuses to worry and be fearful at any cost, so that's why the tone in her post, but in THEORY she is right. In REALITY, we don't know for sure and only time will tell, so you're also right. Maria made her choice with your info, I made mine and I'm worried.

I'm not ashamed to be worried about anything, it's a self-preservation mechanism. See you on the other side, Maria.

-- Chris (, January 06, 1999.

I'm sorry, kids, but that story smells funny.

"...Of the 22,761 systems tested in South Australia, 7042 were non-compliant. "

"Systems"? Including system software? Does that number mean 7042 different models of different devices? I checked with a buddy on the Y2K team at a large metro hospital. He laughed at this report. he suspected that these hospitals had alot of a few flakey devices (like the HP defibrillator that that couldn't print dates after 1/1/99. one device, but this one hospital had 225 of them!) or maybe 100 user licenses for one non-compliant pharmacy software package. Their real life non-compliant device rate (where each device model# equals 1), is about 5%. And they had yet to find a device that actually stopped on rollover. Most printout wrong dates.)

Look, I'm not a pollyana. This is serious. I'm just trying to be a skeptical about cynicsm, not cynical about skepticsm.


-- Lewis (, January 06, 1999.

My, my. In one paragraph, one third of those devices have changed from noncompliant to failures. Oops, excuse me, FAILURES!

The medical device much in the news lately has been that defibrillator, which despite a date anomaly, continued to defibrillate just fine. It simply printed the wrong date on the printout. You have to wonder just how many of those 7042 noncompliances were this serious (or less).

It's like pointing out that most cars show some tire wear, which is an imperfection. No, wait, on second thought, its a time-related failure. Nearly 100% of cars are failures.

No, that's not right, let's see ... Aha, I know:


There. By screaming, I have turned a dishonest distortion into a FACT!

Hey! Y'know, this is *exactly* the sort of fact Mr. Milne keeps posting.

Maybe If I keep practicing, I can become an imbecile too. Gotta work on my foul insults, tho...

-- Flint (, January 06, 1999.

Flint, cardiac monitors are not defibrilators, and dated data is of utmost importance on those. In telemetry, a cardiac patient's heart is bieng monitored with electrodes attached to the chest at one end, and to a small portable monitor at the other that sends its output to a central monitor. This is history records that the doctor examines for patterns, anomalies etc., and the monitor also serves as emergency warnings. The date and time are key data.

-- Chris (, January 06, 1999.

Oh, and on drug distribution systems, that's another biggy. I can think of blood for example, which is used in abundance in a hospital, which is extremely date sensitive. And some antibiotics.

I'm a nurse, and this report worries me, even if it said only 5% of devices failed.

-- Chris (, January 06, 1999.

Yes, I understand. At one extreme, we have devices with minor cosmetic issues, and any anomalies can safely be ignored. At the other extreme, we have devices which will no longer function at all, or otherwise cause patients to die even when used by trained medical personnel. In the middle is everything else.

But I don't think it's honest to lump all of these into the failure category and imply that one third of all the equipment a hospital uses will become worthless or dangerous, and that perhaps a third of the patients will die as a result.

I'm glad that testing is being done, real problems are being identified, and dangerous equipment is being repaired or replaced. This seems cause for celebration, rather than for lunatics like 'a' to try to incite panic among the uninformed.

I don't know anything about medical equipment and I'm glad to learn. But I do know propaganda when I see it. It doesn't help.

-- Flint (, January 06, 1999.

"This seems cause for celebration"

Flint, you are a piece of work. You and your pollyanna ilk actually expect y2k to be some kind of windfall. Let me help you out here. Australia is one of the seven continents. Its hospitals just got around to testing their equipment for y2k compliance. Almost a third failed. That's F A I L E D. Not passed, Flint, FLUNKED. Did it kill anyone? No, not yet, that comes later. When a third of their devices, if they are not repaired, will read the date as 01/01/00 and...well lets just say their morgues may get pretty busy.

Now, Flint, note that we are talking about stuff that controls whether people live or die. So you can see why they are "rushing" to test and repair, so "early" in the game. Other less critical things, like power, water, phones, refineries, transportation, government and businesses, well, they'll get to them real soon now.

-- a (a@a.a), January 06, 1999.

You continue to believe that if you shout your distortion, it somehow becomes fact. Perhaps rather than frothing at the mouth, you could explain to us just what the failure modes of these devices were, and how much of a real hazard they may have represented had they not been identified. I firmly believe we're in for an uncountable host of very serious problems, and I've prepared accordingly. Perhaps your definition of a pollyanna is anyone who dares to point out BS when you post it. If so, I'll wear the title gladly.

-- Flint (, January 06, 1999.

"Almost a third failed. That's F A I L E D. Not passed, Flint, FLUNKED. Did it kill anyone? No, not yet, that comes later. When a third of their devices, if they are not repaired, will read the date as 01/01/00 and...well lets just say their morgues may get pretty busy." Come on A. Tell me what happens after they read the date. Do they perform any date calculations? Do they need to know delta t? If so, then they get a negative number and give erroneous data. Then in the next second, delta t will be positive. Can you really tell me what will happen next? No I didn't think so. Now in October the Washington Post printed a story on the status of American hospitals (I can't find the URL). The bottom line was things were OK. They were finding and fixing problems and should be done in time for 1/1/00. Now do you believe them? Probably not. I choose to believe them.

Troll Maria

-- Maria (, January 06, 1999.

Maria, it's a good try, but asking 'a' for information is foolish, he only deals in misinformation. Still, I'll keep making the effort too.

So 'a', Consider Windows 95. It has been reported that over 5,000 bugs have been identified in that product. Which means it will fail at least that many 'tests'. Of course, it is one of the most successful products over. That's success, not failure. I'm sure it's possible to concoct a near infinity of tests you yourself would fail. Are you a failure?

-- Flint (, January 06, 1999.

Troll Maria, who worked for the gov., believes an article from the Washington Post. Well ofcourse! (Trolls at the gov. are responsible for this whole y2k mess, they regected a date standard when the brains warned them.)

Hang on Maria, I'll dig-up a more reliable article on the status of hospitals in USA tomorrow morning, I'm yawning too much right now it's bed time. But I'll be back to post it, I have a URL somewhere.

-- Bored (, January 06, 1999.

"Now in October the Washington Post printed a story on the status of American hospitals (I can't find the URL). The bottom line was things were OK. They were finding and fixing problems and should be done in time for 1/1/00."

Maria, compare your Washington Post article with this one from 11/20/98.

Y2K and Healthcare

This one doesn't say things are ok, yet its source seems just as credible to me as the Washington Post.

-- Chris (, January 07, 1999.

OH! I mistake. Windows 95 is buggy and the Washington Post said three months ago that hospitals were OK. Silly me for thinking that 8000 non-compliant devices in several Australian hospitals was anything to worry about. Golly gee, I bet all the other stuff Milne is complaining about is just as baseless!

Thanks for setting me straight Flint & marie! Keep up the good work!

-- a (a@a.a), January 07, 1999.

Well, the good news is that 'failed' has been downgraded to 'noncompliant'. The bad news is that 7042 has become 8000. Well, not a bad trade I guess.

Noncompliance is bad. No doubt about it. Being in a hospital at rollover is contraindicated. Nobody is saying that these problems don't exist, or that they are guaranteed not to be bad, even fatal. What Marie and I are trying to communicate is that there is no logical basis for reading about some undescribed complaince problems, and jumping straight to the conclusion that these all represent potential fatalities.

As a parallel case, cars suffer mechanical problems all the time. These breakdowns very rarely (but sometimes) result in fatalities. Certainly mechanical problems are worse than no mechanical problems. But if you hear that someone's car had a problem, would you automatically assume that the owner died as a result? This worst-case assumption would be incorrect almost (but not quite) always. Yet you castigate anyone who ventures to point out the same false assumption in this case.

Well, castigate away if that's all you know how to do. Your assumption remains just as false.

-- Flint (, January 07, 1999.

Here's the URL:

I just don't get why bad news is always believed. If a company says were OK, you don't believe it. "They say that for the board members and stocks" . And I really love when we get no information it translates into they are going to fail. It's just a matter of semantics. You'll continue to believe whatever you so choose.

Troll Maria

-- Maria (, January 08, 1999.

Maria, I don't believe anyone here believes all bad news. I don't believe anyone here believes all good news either.

Tell me this, are you stockpiling and preparing for potential disruptions, for more than a week?

If so, then all that you are doing is argueing how severe things will be, which very clearly, nobody knows, pessimists or optimists, doomgloomers or polyannas. What it all comes down to is prepare according to what you feel, pessimism or optimism, but prepare.

-- Chris (, January 08, 1999.

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