Medical Fail 2.0

I cant believe I missed this one on my last post about failed medical products.  So maybe it doesnt fit exactly in to the definition of a medical device, but see if you can figure out what this is…

mystery device

mystery device

give up?  this guy is called a “fluoroscopic shoe-fitter”.  you can read more about it here.  basically, this little chunk of disaster would shine x-rays from a radioactive tube up through the feet of a shoe customer.  the x-rays would then hit a fluoroscope, which would create a black and white x-ray image like we have all seen before.  this would allow people to see how much room they had for their toes while trying on new shoes.  modern x-ray imaging is done onto a film so that only an instant of exposure is needed to make an image, however these devices would allow real-time viewing by a continuous exposure probably onto a scintillating screen (something to convert an x-ray into light so you can see the image).  you will notice there are 3 viewing areas on the top – one for the salesman, one for the mother (if a customer is a child) and one for the customer.  perhaps the worst part about this is there is pretty much no shielding on the entire device; if you are standing anywhere near this thing you are getting hit with radioactive dosage.  and when you look through that little porthole, you are dosing your brain with radiation.  apparently some salesman would reach into the shoe area to squeeze the tip of the shoe during radioactive exposure, leading to a lot of skin problems on their hands, sometimes in only a few years of selling shoes.  i can imagine a lot of them experienced infertility from all the radiation exposure reaching their waist area.  i dont even want to think what may have happened to pregnant mothers who worked in department stores that had these boxes.  luckily they have been illegal in the US since the 50s. 
x-ray foot image

x-ray foot image

if you are a pretty big nerd and were wondering how x-rays work, they shine high-energy particles through an object and see what comes out.  basically the denser materials (metals, bones) will absorb more x-rays than less dense materials (soft tissues, muscle, plastic).  after this is transferred to a film or viewing screen, the more dense stuff will look white and the less dense stuff will be darker.  there is a lot more to it then this, but it doesn’t matter that much.

foot xray

foot xray


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