After years of litigation, the FDA on Thursday issued a ban on Electrical Stimulation Devices (ESDs) — devices that were used to issue electrical shocks to the wearer in the hopes of changing behavior through shock therapy.
According to the FDA, the devices were first marketed "more than 20 years ago." But according to CNN and The Washington Post, the devices were only known to be in use at one facility as of this week — Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts.
The center treats people aged between 5 and adulthood that have behavioral and intellectual issues. In a 2012 lawsuit, the FDA moved to ban the devices after a 2002 video from the facility went public — a video that shows facility officials giving "dozens" of shocks to a patient at the center.
"Since ESDs were first marketed more than 20 years ago, we have gained a better understanding of the danger these devices present to public health," said William Maisel, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office of Product Evaluation and Quality in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "Through advancements in medical science, there are now more treatment options available to reduce or stop self-injurious or aggressive behavior, thus avoiding the substantial risk ESDs present."
The FDA's ban of a medical device is an extremely rare move for the agency. Since given the availability to do so in 1976, the FDA has only banned two other medical devices, according to The Washington Post.