Congressman calls for tougher regulations on bed rails

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Rep. Edward Mackey (D-MA)
Rep. Edward Mackey (D-MA)

In the wake of a tough investigation into bed rail entrapment, a Massachusetts congressman has called on government agencies to step up their regulation.

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) asked the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to form a national task force that will increase regulation of bed systems and bed rails.

"Comprehensive oversight of these products, which sometimes blur the line between medical devices and consumer products, requires coordination among federal agencies,” Markey wrote in a Nov. 30 letter to Margaret Hamburg, M.D., the FDA commissioner. “We need a national task force dedicated to addressing any regulatory gaps in order to protect these vulnerable patients from preventable bed rail injuries."

The letter stems from a recent New York Times report that said 550 people have died since 1995 from bed rail entrapment. While 61% of bed rail deaths happened at home, a quarter happened in a nursing home or assisted living location, the report said.

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