Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

What A Headache: Contraceptive Devices Gives Woman Chronic Migraines

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Apr 07, 2016 | 0 Comments

A Maryland woman has filed a lawsuit against the makers of the Mirena Intrauterine Device, a birth control device supposedly able to prevent pregnancy for up to 5 years. The lawsuit claims that use of the device has led to the development of a condition known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension, commonly known as "IIH." This condition creates a fluid buildup around the brain, that leads to difficulties with vision, and painful headaches. The condition, while not commonly fatal, can potentially lead to permanent vision loss. Symptoms include migraines, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, temporary loss of vision, and possibly even tinnitus (a constant ringing in the ears). Currently, there is no permanent solution to IIH, instead a commonly used treatment is a lumbar puncture, which can be painful and expensive.

The lawsuit itself names a number of defendants, including Bayer, the manufacturer, as well as the independent labs used for developing and testing the devices. The claims focus on legal aspects of negligent sale, marketing and design, as well as failure to warn consumers of these side effects. The lawsuit also includes claims of breach of warranty and strict liability against some defendants. The lawsuit seeks both punitive and compensatory damages. This is not the first case that Bayer has faced regarding the Mirena device. Many lawsuits have been filed over the device's apparent habit of leaving the uterus, where it is intended to remain for the duration of its use in order to effectively prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Defective Medical Products

If a medical device or drug is defective, the effects can range anywhere from exacerbated medical conditions to death. A "defect" can begin as early as the design stage of a product, or sometimes the defect occurs in the manufacturing phase. Sometimes failure to warn consumers of potential side effects or improper uses of a product can also make a company liable for a defective product. For medical devices, companies must take extra care, as a defective product can cause severe and unreasonable harm to a consumer.

Unfortunately, unlike some other types of consumer products, medical equipment can take some time to reveal defects. In fact, at times, medical equipment or devices can either be implanted or in use before any possible defects are even discovered. This can lead to expensive, painful, and time-consuming surgeries for removal and replacement; not to mention the huge potential for a patient's condition to worsen because of the defective device.

When a medical device hits the market with a defect, it could mean the company that created the device negligently cut corners in design and testing, and pushed the device out so they could cash in on the medical industry. This is irresponsible and should not be tolerated. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a defective medical product, contact us today.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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