Through scientific and medical advances, medical devices are able to give patients a new lease on life. This could include a pacemaker to take care of heart problems, a knee replacement to allow them to walk without pain, or spinal fusion to address back pain. However, when the implanted medical device is defective, it could cause more problems than it solves. In some cases, a defective medical device could lead to a patient's death.
Defective Medical Equipment
Some of the most common medical devices include artificial heart valves, pacemakers, breast implants, transvaginal mesh, pain pumps, dialysis machines, hip replacements, knee replacements, catheters, and other products.
Medical device defects can be due to manufacturing defects, design defects, improper labeling and improper warnings. In a design defect, the medical device may be unsafe to use even if it was correctly manufactured. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues hundreds of medical device recalls for a variety of medical equipment. These defects can lead to serious injuries or death.
When a medical device has a defective design, it could lead to serious injuries for the patient even if it was manufactured properly. Problems may turn up in testing, but are overlooked by the manufacturer or downplayed as a serious concern. Other problems may not be known until the products go into regular use. Only after doctors report the adverse incidents will a clearer picture of the defect become apparent. Unfortunately, for many patients, the warning will come too late.
Other defects may occur in the production or manufacturing process. If the company producing the devices does not properly inspect each device, they may allow a dangerous product to go out the door, and into an unsuspecting patient. In other cases, the manufacturer may be looking to increase profits, and use cheaper materials in the production of their medical devices. When a defective medical device injures a patient, the manufacturer of the dangerous product should be held accountable.
One of the most common medical device recalls involved defective hip and knee replacements. Metal-on-metal artificial hips and artificial knees had a high rate of failure to bond with bones. This caused bone fractures, dislocation, pain, swelling, and the inability to walk. Addressing these problems resulted in additional and risky surgeries. Another hip replacement device was recalled because friction would produce small metal fragments that damaged the patient's bone and tissue, and lead to heart, thyroid, and nervous system injuries.
Other prominent device recalls involved IVC filters, transvaginal mesh, IUDs, bone grafts, drug-coated stents, and defective defibrillators (pacemakers). In some cases, the defects were a concern to manufacturers before the devices were approved by government regulators. However, the manufacturers were anxious to get the devices to market, and downplayed the dangers involved, unbeknownst to the injured patients.
Discovering a Defective Medical Device
It may be difficult to know when a piece of medical equipment is defective. It may take time before the public even becomes aware of defective pacemakers, joint replacement products, or other medical device hardware. Even if a medical device is later recalled, the patient may not be clear on what the defect entailed, and if they have been harmed as a result. A thorough review of a patient's medical records, FDA alerts, and relevant medical studies by medical experts may help discover the injuries related to equipment defects.
It may take years for individuals to become aware of a defective medical device. In some cases, it may only become clear that a medical device was defective after a loved one has died. If you suspect a loved one may be the victim of a defective medical device, you should seek the counsel of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. You may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturers of the defective medical device, and help make sure these kinds of deaths don't happen in the future.
Defective Medical Device Injury Attorney
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 Maryland 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. You should not have to suffer due to someone else's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.