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Defibrillator Thief Might Be In for A Nasty Shock

By Marissa Vogt

Most students left last week’s career fair with giveaways like free pens and T-shirts, and a lucky few scored job offers or arranged interviews. One person, however, walked away from the Medtronic booth with $25,000 worth of potentially dangerous equipment.

Kateri A. Garcia ’03, who was working at the Medtronic booth, said that a working cardiac defibrillator and working cardiac pacemaker had been on display, though they were not meant to be removed.

Garcia said that she realized they were missing at some point during the career fair. She said that she has filed a report with the Campus Police, though the main concern at this point is safety.

The defibrillator is used to send a shock to the heart of a patient with a heart flutter, said Garcia. The shock from the missing device can be as much as 35 Joules of energy. If left on or used incorrectly, the defibrillator could potentially heat up or explode, and poses a “danger to whoever mishandles it,” Garcia said. She said that the pacemaker could also be dangerous.

It is possible that someone may have inadvertently taken the devices, thinking they were giveaways, or that they were taken intentionally, Garcia said. She said that never before had display devices been taken from career fairs, and that the incident “reflects poorly on MIT students,” though Medtronic has usually had good luck with MIT career fairs.

Garcia said that people with knowledge of the event are encouraged to speak to the Campus Police or return the devices to Patrol Officer Barbara A. Haven. She said that Medtronic will not prosecute those involved and that returning the items is “just a matter of safety.”