- WASHINGTON -- The Food and
Drug Administration on Wednesday approved an implantable computer chip
that can pass a patient's medical details to doctors, speeding care.
- VeriChips, radio frequency microchips the size of a grain
of rice, have already been used to identify wayward pets and livestock.
And nearly 200 people working in Mexico's attorney general's office have
been implanted with chips to access secure areas containing sensitive documents.
- Delray Beach, Fla.-based Applied Digital Solutions said
it would give away $650 scanners to roughly 200 trauma centers around the
nation to help speed its entry into the health care market.
- A company spokesman would not say how much implanting
chips would cost for humans, even though chips have been implanted in some,
including Scott R. Silverman, the company's chief executive officer.
- The company is targeting patients with diabetes, chronic
cardiac conditions, Alzheimer's disease and those who undergo complex treatments
like chemotherapy, said Dr. Richard Seelig, Applied Digital Solutions'
vice president of medical applications.
- It's the first time the FDA has approved medical use
of the device, though in Mexico, more than 1,000 scannable chips have been
implanted in patients. The chip's serial number pulls up the patients'
blood type and other medical information.
- With the pinch of a syringe, the microchip is inserted
under the skin in a procedure that takes less than 20 minutes and leaves
- Silently and invisibly, the dormant chip stores a code
- similar to the identifying UPC code on products sold in retail stores
- that releases patient-specific information when a scanner passes over
- At the doctor's office those codes stamped onto chips,
once scanned, would reveal such information as a patient's allergies and
- The FDA in October 2002 said that the agency would regulate
health care applications possible through VeriChip. Meanwhile, the chip
has been used for a number of security-related tasks as well as for pure
whimsy: Club hoppers in Barcelona, Spain, now use the microchip much like
a smartcard to speed drink orders and payment.
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