Medical devices include instruments, materials, or apparatus that is intended to be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or alleviate an injury or disease.This can also include devices used for cosmetic purposes to modify a person's body, certain birth control devices, and prosthetics.
Some of the most common medical devices used today include pacemakers, heart valves, dialysis machines, pain pumps, knee replacements, hip replacements, catheters, breast implants, implantable defibrillators, spinal fusion devices, IUDs, ear tubes, artificial eye lenses, and coronary stents.
History of Defective Medical Devices
History was made in 1982 when doctors successfully implanted the first artificial heart, the Jarvik 7, named after the inventor, Dr. Robert Jarvik. Since then, medical material and design technology has continued to advance, helping patients live longer and healthier lives. However, not all medical devices have been a benefit to patients. A number of defective medical devices have caused patients injury, infection, or even death.
Defective medical devices can have design defects, manufacturing defects, or fail to properly warn patients of dangers or complications. Since 1950, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has challenged the claims of medical devices they found harmful or misleading. Since that time, the FDA has issued hundreds of recall notices for medical devices and medical equipment.
Each year, dozens of medical devices are recalled for a variety of defects. This includes implantable cardioverter defibrillators recalled for premature battery depletion, ventilators which may have unexpected shutdowns, or catheters that may break during insertion.
When a recall is issued for a safety issue with a toy, phone, or vehicle, the consumer can usually take the product back for repair, replacement, or a refund. However, medical device recalls are not so simple because they often require surgery to remove or repair. Depending on the health of the patient, surgery to replace the defective medical device may be more dangerous than simply leaving the defective medical device in place. A patient may be left knowing they have a dangerous product in their body and not be able to do anything about it.
Defective Products Claims
Defective product claims generally fall under the category of product liability. In personal injury cases, an injured individual usually has to show that the defendant's negligence caused their injury. However, in product liability claims, the injured individual may only have to show that the product was defective as designed, manufactured, or failed to adequately warn consumers of the danger. Design defects involve products that are not safe as designed. A manufacturing defect involves products that were made unsafe in the manufacturing process. Failure to warn defects involve products that are not properly labeled or do not warn customers of possible dangers.
Medical device manufacturers are under pressure to get their products out on the market as quickly as possible. They are also motivated to keep costs low to maximize profit. Unfortunately, this can lead to defective products being used on patients before they have been evaluated and tested to make sure they are 100% safe.
In many cases, the dangers of a defective medical device are not discovered until they have been used on thousands of patients. It may take months or years before patients and doctors realized the product is dangerous and could harm the patient. For many patients, any warning about a defective product will come too late.
Many people have lost a loved one because of a defective medical device. Unfortunately, many of those people may never learn the death was caused by a defective device. It may take an investigation to learn that a product defect was involved. If a loved one died after a medical device was installed, your attorney can talk to you about what might have occurred, and help you determine whether a medical device defect may have been involved. A wrongful death lawsuit may help prevent similar deaths in the future and compensate you for your loss.
Defective Medical Device Injury Attorney in Washington D.C.
If you were injured because of a defective medical device, you may have a legal claim for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. If a loved one died as the result of a dangerous medical device, you should talk to an experienced D.C. personal injury attorney to help you determine if you have a claim. They will fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.