By Matthew R. Maltese, The Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium, and Daniel Henrich, Archimedic
As a society, we seem to regard the lives of children as more innocent, precious, and worthy of protection than those of adults. This superior valuation of child well-being is not limited to people with children of their own, or those in attendance at pediatric device conferences: in an ongoing MIT study of human perspectives on how autonomous vehicles should behave in the event of an unavoidable collision, respondents regularly indicate the vehicle should be programmed to spare child passengers or pedestrians over adults.[i]
However, the medical device marketplace for children does not reflect these values. There are far fewer pediatric devices than adult devices on the market, meaning one of the most vulnerable patient populations also is one of the most underserved.