Activism

Join the Fight: Tell Us How You’ve Fixed Medical Devices

Nebulizer motor, broken
Nebulizer motor, with piston (orange ring) dislodged. Photo by Jacob Uyeda.

Jacob Uyeda’s father needs a medication-vaporizing nebulizer to breathe every day. When it broke, the best his father’s air supplier could offer was to bring a new one the next day. That meant a trip to the hospital—not something Uyeda, who works at iFixit, wanted to put his father through during a pandemic. So he took the thing apart.

“I couldn’t wait so I disassembled his nebulizer machine, found the problem, cleaned it, reinstalled the piston,” Uyeda said, “and now my father can do his treatment.” Uyeda found his way through a broken medical device, but he shouldn’t have had to risk it. We need ways to fix important things without relying on manufacturers, suppliers, or emergency room visits.

Do you have a story like Uyeda’s? Have you fixed (or tried to fix) medical equipment or an assistive device, for yourself, family, or friends? Did you pull it off, or hit a roadblock? We could use your help.

We’re supporting Right to Repair legislation in a number of states that, if passed, would help people fix their medical equipment and assistive devices. This legislation would require manufacturers to make available to device owners the repair information, specialized tools, and replacement parts (like batteries) needed to safely and successfully repair their equipment. Without this access, people can wait days, weeks, or months to get their devices fixed.

How You Can Help

We’re collecting stories from people who have fixed, or attempted to fix, medical or assistive devices. Your stories will help us make the case for DIY and self-repair of medical equipment and assistive devices with state legislatures. If you’ve worked on things like powered wheelchairs, nebulizers, blood glucose meters—or been unable to fix such a device, due to missing manuals, tools, or software—we want to hear about it! 

With your consent, we’d love to share these stories with the legislators considering these bills, and with your representatives as well. Be sure to tell us your ZIP code so we can send it to the right people. And, if you’re open to it, we might include some stories in an article about the problem.

Tell your story by filling out this form, which is also embedded below.

Thanks so much for your help! If you have any other ideas for how iFixit can help people keep their medical and assistive devices working, we’re all ears!