With evolving medical technology and the continual development and enhancement of medical devices, countless lives have been saved and prolonged. Medical devices such as joint replacements and heart implants have led to a longer and better quality of life for people of all ages. While there are many positives when it comes to medical devices, they also have their downsides. Medical device injury attorneys know that sometimes medical devices lead to injuries or worsening conditions due to malfunction, defects, or negligent medical care.
Causes of medical device injuries
Sometimes no one is at fault in medical device injury cases, but other times doctors, manufacturers, and occasionally sellers may be liable depending on the decisions and conduct that led to the injuries.
- Doctors may be liable for prescribing a device that was not appropriate for a patient’s medical condition.
- Doctors may be liable if they did not get informed consent prior to prescribing the device. If a doctor fails to warn patients of the injury risks with a particular device and fails to warn patients of alternative devices or treatments, the patient is not able to give what is known as, informed consent, and the doctor may be liable for injuries sustained by an uninformed patient.
- Doctors are required to give patients instructions for use when it comes to medical devices and if they fail to provide patients with instructions for use and patients are subsequently injured as a result, doctors may be liable.
- Devices are to be carefully studied and tested by manufacturers before putting them on the consumer market. Medical device companies are in the business of making money and unfortunately, sometimes profits are put ahead of healthcare and manufacturers do not take the time and effort required to adequately study the device. Other times medical devices are not adequately studied and tested because similar products are already on the market.
- Negligent manufacturing or flawed design leads to defective devices and when defective devices cause injuries, manufacturers may be liable.
- Manufacturers may be liable for failing to disclose discovered medical device risks and dangers. Device dangers may be discovered by the manufacturer in the study and testing phase or they may be discovered after they are already on the market and sometimes those dangers are downplayed or not disclosed.
- A seller may also be liable for distributing a known defective device. Sometimes when sellers know that devices are defective in some manner, yet they decide to sell the product anyway, they may be liable, especially if the particular device was recalled by the FDA.
Types of defective devices
Any type of medical device has the potential to be defective, but common problematic devices that are frequently at the heart of defective medical device claims include the following:
- Defibrillators, heart valves, pacemakers, and other heart devices
- Pain and insulin pumps
- Knee and hip replacement devices
- Vaginal mesh and bladder slings
- Wheelchairs and other handicap devices