On her trip to Israel this week, the esteemed Senator Hillary Clinton took part in a photo-op where she was shown using a device that assists in CPR. A photo of the demonstration made the Tuesday Washington Times front page. The Senator probably didn’t know it, but the device she was handling, the CardioPump, is illegal in the United States because the Food and Drug Administration refuses to approve it. In 1995, the CardioPump became a symbol of the campaign to reform FDA when Newt Gingrich used it to illustrate the agency’s heavy-handed approval process.
The CardioPump is a relatively simple device, consisting of a suction cup that enables paramedics to administer CPR more effectively. Studies supporting the device have appeared in major peer-reviewed medical journals, and the device is used in a growing number of foreign countries. FDA has not approved the device due to disputes over the supporting data, but even critics of the CardioPump admit that it poses no new risk to cardiac arrest victims undergoing CPR. Besides Israel, the CardioPump is used in Austria, Australia, Canada, Chile, England, France, Germany, Japan, and Sweden, among others.