SLU Cardiologist: Cheney’s Defibrillator Couldn’t Be Modified Remotely
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Was former Vice President Dick Cheney justified in his fear that terrorists might manipulate his implanted defibrillator to induce a heart attack? A St. Louis cardiologist says the answer to that question isn’t simple.
Saint Louis University Hospital cardiology chief Dr. Michael Lim says the manufacturers of such devices allow them to be monitored remotely but actually changing the program is a different thing.
“You can’t do that remotely. So the only way to actually affect Dick Cheney’s or anybody else’s health or function of the device is to change the program and the only way to change the program is to physically do it in-person, touching the patient,” Lim explained.
Cheney’s cardiologist turned off the device’s wireless function out of a sense of caution to make it fail-safe in the event a terrorist near the VP might be able to hack into it and cause a problem. The revelation was made in a book Cheney co-wrote with his doctors and was also revealed in an interview with 60 Minutes which aired Sunday.
“The companies have really worked hard and they still assure that there’s no way to program or change the functioning of a device remotely,” Lim added.