Cassette

The Abbott Micro Macro Plum XL with DataPort is a digital regulator pump that ensures a steady flow of I.V. fluids at a precisely controlled rate. The setup instructions printed on the side begin like so:

  • Prime set according to set package instructions
  • Close Flow Regulator by pushing in
  • Insert primed cassette into infuser and close door
  • Verify No Flow

Sounds cryptic, but after spending days watching nurses change your I.V. it starts to make sense. A tube runs from the bag of fluid into a clear plastic box a little bigger than a cigarette lighter. This box slides into a spring-loaded door in the front of the pump which closes with a satisfying snap like an old tape player. This box is the “cassette” from step three.

The word “cassette” is jarring for me. I suppose the item in question is literally a “little box”, but it still sounds odd because the word “cassette” has been completely colonized by the sense of audio cassette. Had it been up to me to coin the nomenclature for this device, I would have called it a “cartridge” instead. Now that the magnetic audio tape era has passed, though, I wonder if the word “cassette” will again be freed up for use in referring to any number of small, enclosed things.

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