Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Quick Launch

American College of Clinical Engineering > ACCE Blog > Posts > Our History Define Us and What We Do. By Larry Fennigkoh
September 15
Our History Define Us and What We Do.                                                By Larry FennigkohEdit

While this event happened many years ago, the details remain vivid and representative, perhaps, of what so many others within clinical engineering have also experienced.  In some ways it also epitomizes the invisible effectiveness that we have and continue to bring to healthcare.

At the time, our medical respiratory ICU had a centralized mass spectrometer that sampled patient gases and was absolutely crucial to the patient care provided by this unit. As such, our CE department was extremely sensitive to the importance of this system and always did our best to keep it functional.  Despite these efforts, the system experienced a critical component failure that shut down the entire system.  While we immediately and frantically sought a replacement part, the only source was from the European OEM.  All we could do was wait.  Understandably, the MRICU staff was blasting us regularly to get the system up and running NOW – but all we could offer was that ‘the part is on order’.  Well after about two weeks the unit’s pulmonologist medical director understandably lost it and convened an administrative meeting where I was summoned to come and explain what the *^*uk was going on.  Knowing that I was about to get verbally castrated, I reviewed the past two years of service history on this device – with our early, now primitive, but still very effective CMMS, and was not surprised but most comforted to see that we had somewhere around an 85% same-day service response on this device. Yes, over the prior two years, every time this device went down, our staff had it up and running within the same day 85% of the time.  I made a simple histogram plot of this metric and brought it to the meeting.  As expected, the first half of the meeting was spent ripping me and my extremely dedicated and competent staff a host of new orifices.  I then brought out my service histogram – and in a less than an appropriate and tactful manner (as I was a bit pissed by this time) –  said something to the effect “if you can find anyone to service this machine better than we have been doing - bring them in”.  That ended the meeting with the medical director still upset but he also seemed to come away with an entirely new appreciation and respect for what we and our silent warrior BMET’s had been doing.

Indeed, the better in-house CE departments become the more invisible they also tend to appear.  Maybe, it is this twisted irony that will eventually best define us but also emerge as one of our greatest liabilities as well . . . ?;  nonetheless, happy Global CE day to us all.​


Appreciation - from Yadin David

Larry is sharing with us practical example of day-to-day contribution CEs are making all over the world. We just need, like Larry, to share and educate others about what we do. That's why the Global CE Day is celebrated every year on October 21st. Go to Global CE Day website to watch live streaming of the opening ceremony from Chengdu, China on Saturday October 20th (it will be Sunday (10/21) morning in China).
The link will be provided at
 on 10/14/2018 8:06 AM

Add Comment

Items on this list require content approval. Your submission will not appear in public views until approved by someone with proper rights. More information on content approval.


Body *

BotCheck *

What is 10 + 8?
(For bot and spam purposes)

Your Name *



 Blog Tools


The American College of Clinical Engineering is a 501 (c) (6) non-profit organization
5200 Butler Pike   Plymouth Meeting PA 19462-1298   Phone: (610) 825-6067
© ACCE. All rights reserved