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WASHINGTON, July 21 - The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced the recall of 206,000 pumps that deliver medicines intravenously to patients. The announcement was made after three people died and six became seriously ill when the infusion pumps unexpectedly shut down.

The machines, made by Baxter International and known as Colleague volumetric infusion pumps, shut down for a variety of software, wiring and design reasons. One of the most basic problems is that the "On/Off" key is so close to the "Start" key that nurses may inadvertently turn the machines off when they actually intend to begin drug therapy, the agency said.

"We've received hundreds of complaints from hospitals about these pumps," said Timothy Ulatowski, director of the office of compliance in the F.D.A.'s device center. "That's extraordinary."

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