In an effort to reduce energy consumption, the government has moved the start of Daylight Savings Time from April 1 to March 11 and the ending from October 28 to November 4 (the day after my birthday). This change will save untold millions of barrels of oil, and impoverish or enrich Bush's friends in the oil industry (depending on your political persuasion), and potentially risk patient safety. This from the FDA:

Dear Healthcare Practitioner, Hospital Director and Safety Manager:

This is to alert you to the possibility that some medical devices
(equipment), hospital networks and associated information technology
systems may generate adverse events because of the upcoming change in
the start and end dates for Daylight Savings Time (DST), and to suggest
actions you can take to prevent such occurrences.

While we do not know which specific devices might be affected, FDA
is concerned about medical devices or medical device networks that
operate together or interact with other networked devices, e.g. where a
synchronization of clocks may be necessary.

If a medical device or medical device network is adversely affected
by the new DST date changes, a patient treatment or diagnostic result
could be:

  • incorrectly prescribed
  • provided at the wrong time
  • missed
  • given more than once
  • given for longer or shorter durations than intended
  • incorrectly recorded

Any of these unpredictable events could harm patients and not be obvious to clinicians responsible for their care.

Here's the FDA's notice for consumers. Fellow blogger Shahid Shah and I wrote about this a while back (here and here). The topic has also been very popular on the Biomed Listserv. Earlier this week I received my third notice from AT&T Wireless Cingular AT&T - this time a computer generated voicemail. GE Healthcare sent out this notice yesterday.

Not to be outdone, the mainstream media has stories, this from the Philadelphia Inquirer and another from the Boston Globe. We've put up our food and water and bought a few extra cases of ammunition - just in case there's a total breakdown of social order. Hopefully we'll all be on line come Monday.