London Hospital Survival Predictor, c 1975.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Apparatus devised for predicting whether comatose patients would recover. The needle on the single indicator dial can point to the word 'survive'; if it swings the other way it points to the letters 'IBD': irreversible brain damage leading to death. The Predictor was devised by medical physicist Douglas Maynard at the London Hospital, Whitechapel, now the Royal London Hospital. The software was 'taught' which features of the brain's electrical activity indicated a more or les favourable outcome, based on data from a sample of patients, the clinician entering features for the individual patient that the machine then used to compute a result. It was never used to determine whether life support should be withdrawn.