Thursday, August 14, 2003

Rights and Reason: Stair-Climbing Wheelchair Gets FDA's OK

This from the AP:

It's complicated and carries a hefty pricetag, but the federally approved iBOT wheelchair promises to give some of the nation's 2 million wheelchair users new freedom of movement, even allowing them to climb stairs.

The Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) on Wednesday authorized the sale of the iBOT, which uses sensors and gyroscopes to climb up and down stairs. It also shifts into four-wheel drive to navigate grassy hills and can lift its occupant to standing height.

Doctors have called the technology potentially revolutionary and the FDA termed it a breakthrough, but one so complex that, unlike other wheelchairs, it will require a doctor's prescription and special training before patients can buy an iBOT.
It's a wheelchair. Where does the FDA get the authority to approve a wheelchair? Where does it get the authority to require a prescription for a wheelchair? Why aren't people rioting in front of the FDA? Why aren't they burning their representatives of Congress in effigy?

This in a nation whose founders rioted over tea.

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