Defective medical device cases are some of the scariest types of lawsuits. Defective medical devices may be deadly. A patient thinks they’re receiving protection and treatment for a medical ailment, but a medical device could actually be causing them long-term harm or even put them in a position where they are killed because it malfunctions.
In some cases, defective medical devices may be implanted in a person’s body, serving a function such as a hip replacement or form of semi-permanent birth control. In other cases, the device may be used during surgical procedures. Damage may occur slowly over time, with few signs pointing toward the need for treatment or prevention, before it’s too late. In other cases, a procedure that is meant to fix a problem causes a whole host of new medical issues.
If you or a loved one plans on using any type of medical device or plans on having surgery, be aware of complications that may occur when medical devices are defective. Here is what constitutes a defective medical device, examples of some recent defective medical device cases, and how to get help if you’re a victim of a defective medical device.
In some cases, it’s the fault of the physician that causes a medical complication. Medical malpractice cases may arise when a doctor or other medical professional does not perform their duties within the expected standard of care. Neglect may occur when a doctor fails to give the correct diagnosis, mis-prescribes a patient, does not properly investigate symptoms or follow up on treatment, or a whole host of other factors.
With defective medical devices, it is the neglect of the manufacturer and brand selling the device that is to blame. Some reasons why a medical device is defective include:
- Improper testing
- Failure to warn physicians and patients about all side effects
- Rush to market that results in a lack of proper design
- Unidentified problems before the product is released
When a manufacturer discovers a problem with a medical device, the product may be recalled. A recall can include both a correction of the product (where the problem is addressed for future products) and a removal of the product. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) defines a medical device as defective when it could be a risk to health or when it is both a risk to health and is defective.
When a medical device is recalled, the company should alert physicians and patients about any potential dangers. This should be an immediate process, so that patients can take the actions they need to in order to stay safe. While some medical devices may be implanted and do not necessarily need to be removed, it is vital for patients and physicians to know all the dangers and ways to take precautions.
The FDA lists more than a dozen medical device recalls in the first half of 2018 alone. Sometimes, a recall is not enough to protect a company that put up to thousands of patients in danger because of their negligence. Some examples of defective medical device lawsuits that have been or are currently being pursued include the following.
Da Vinci Surgical Robot
Da Vinci surgical robots have been used to perform surgeries including hysterectomies, gastric bypass, bladder and abdominal procedures. While this device is marketed as less invasive, since abdominal surgeries may be performed without cutting open the body, the device has been accused in lawsuits of causing harm including excessive bleeding, severe bowel injuries and, in some cases, killing the patient.
Stryker Hip Replacement
Stryker recalled its Rejuvenate and ABG-II modular-neck stem products, after patients reported severe complications due to corrosion and fretting of the medical devices. More than 5,000 lawsuits against the manufacturer have been filed, and Stryker has settled with patients in excess of $1.4 billion. There may be more lawsuits, due to patients who were implanted with the devices and who continue to experience problems.
The Mirena intrauterine device is an implantable form of birth control. Bayer, the manufacturer of Mirena, has been accused by the FDA of misleading customers in marketing. The Mirena device has also been reported to cause serious side effects, including birth defects, ovarian cysts and ectopic pregnancy. Mirena is still on the market, despite thousands of Mirena lawsuits and side effects that continue to be reported.
These are just a few examples of serious medical device defects that can harm patients with everyday use and with serious procedures like surgeries.
What to Do If You’re a Victim of a Defective Medical Device
You deserve to be safe with any publicly sold product you use, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. With medical products, safety is of even a greater concern. Medical patients already have enough things to worry about. The devices that are supposed to help them should not be an additional burden.
Personal injury claims are complicated by the statute of limitations, which places a time constraint on how long victims have to file claims. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a medical device, it’s vital to contact an attorney immediately. You may have received treatment a year ago or more and may be experiencing problems now. An experienced defective medical device attorney team will be able to work to get you the compensation you deserve. Sometimes this requires expert medical witness testimony. In other cases, you may be one of thousands of victims who have had similar problems.
Please contact Pittman, Dutton & Hellums if you’ve experienced complications due to medical device treatment. We offer free, no-obligation Birmingham defective medical device lawyer consultations and can help you understand your rights.