U.S. government regulations say a pace maker can have only
one user. So when patients die, the pacemakers
buried with them may keep pulsing uselessly under ground for years. Dr. Daniel Mascarenhas, a cardiologist in Pennsylvania, was shocked when a patient of
his died and was buried days after getting a pacemaker with a 10-year-battery
life. Pacemakers cost $6,000-$7,000 and defibrillators cost.$27,000 -
$28,000.In the U.S., some
250,000 people get pacemakers each year. In India, where Dr. Mascarenhas grew
up and trained, few can afford them. Dr.
Mascarenhas calls funeral directors, gets families’ permission to remove
devices, then sterilizes and refurbishes them.Then people help smuggle them to doctors in India. He has begun refurbishing
other medical devices for use in India too. We refurbish laptops and
IPhones, he reasons, why not life-saving devices?