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Re: Is a bug RC relevant if it has an influence on the health of a person

On Thu, Sep 09, 2010 at 11:40:49AM +0200, Andreas Tille wrote:

> with GNUmed we currently have a case where a bug is not RC regarding the
> computer system and would not match our criterion of RC bugs.  However,
> the influence of this bug might harm the health of patients of the
> doctor who might use this version of GNUmed.
> If needed upstream will give some more details


I am (one of) upstream; both developer and Medical Doctor (GP).

The problem Andreas is talking about is this:

Let's assume I am your GP. I prescribe the drug
SugarWater(tm) against ObsessionForPackaging for you. Next
day you must be admitted to hospital by emergency ambulance
because it turns out you had a severe allergic reaction to
Sugar (one component of SugarWater). We call that
"anaphylactic reaction" [1] and you barely survive. When you
return to my office I duly document your allergy to Sugar.
However, you still need and receive Water for
ObsessionForPackaging which we tried to treat with

A week later you return and show me a new skin rash
(exanthema). You suspect that you are also allergic to
Water, the second component of SugarWater (remember, you
still take Water pills every day, we only stopped Sugar
because you were allergic to *that*). Now, because of your
bad experience with Sugar and the new reaction to Water, you
fear you will also develop an anaphylactic shock to Water
(this is medically fairly unlikely but the fear is
understandable). So we decide to use an entirely different
drug against ObsessionForPacking. I also duly note your
additional reaction towards Water in your EMR (which is
GNUmed [2], the package in question).

	Here comes the bug: GNUmed will, given appropriate
	circumstances, OVERWRITE the first allergy against Sugar.

Three years later, Debian 10 has been released and you
return because of FatigueFromPackaging.

I prescribe Sugar, which usually helps against
FatigueFromPackaging. Your EMR does NOT contain the allergy
entry for Sugar anymore because it was overwritten by the
allergy to Water.

You die in hospital because of a second anaphylactic
reaction to Sugar.

Of course, medico-legally I am responsible.

However, didn't you wish we had discussed and solved this
issue in Debian *today* ?   ;-)

Thanks for listening,

Karsten Hilbert, MD, GP

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaphylaxis
[2] http://packages.debian.org/search?keywords=gnumed-client
GPG key ID E4071346 @ wwwkeys.pgp.net
E167 67FD A291 2BEA 73BD  4537 78B9 A9F9 E407 1346

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