When medical devices fail, patients pay with their health — and sometimes with their lives.
If you or a loved one are harmed by a defective medical product or device, would you know where to turn? The dangerous medical products attorneys at Meinhart, Smith, & Manning have years of experience helping patients recover compensation for injuries and illnesses sustained due to defective or otherwise unsafe medical products.
The Food and Drug Administration approves and monitors potential problems with medical devices and products, including:
- Incorrect labeling.
- Contamination or tampering.
- Repair, refunds and replacements of faulty devices.
- Proper reporting and record-keeping.
- Manufacturing processes.
The FDA also tracks reports of negative incidents relating to medical devices and alerts medical professionals and the public when problems arise. In addition, the agency provides up-to-date information about device recalls.
But despite the protections provided by the federal government, faulty medical devices do slip through the cracks, increasing the risk of serious or fatal injury to patients. Dangerous medical products fall under several categories, including medical implants, new technologies, and hazards within medical facilities and at home.
Implants such as hip and knee replacements can cause significant health problems when they fail to work correctly in patients’ bodies. Whether problems are caused by faulty manufacturing, dangerous materials or incorrect implantation, patients can suffer serious health consequences including metal poisoning, infections and immobility. Defective implants also can require additional surgeries to remove and replace — causing patients even more pain, suffering and financial loss.
Millions of Americans have implanted medical devices, including surgical mesh, heart defibrillators and replacement joints. Unfortunately, testing of these devices typically is minimal, with manufacturers simply filing paperwork and paying a fee to get their products to market.
When the FDA deems new medical devices to be substantially similar to those already on the market, clinical trials often are not required. In too many cases, patients getting the implants function as test subjects.
In recent years, new technologies like networked devices have revolutionized the medical industry. These new devices — and accompanying procedures — provide significant benefits to patients, but they also increase the risks to patient safety.
With so many new technologies now in use, hospitals can face challenges in creating and executing adequate safety standards. In addition, problems can arise due to flawed or incorrectly administered software, poor interoperability among systems, and subpar performance of facility networks.
As technology continues to evolve, hospitals and other medical facilities will face growing obstacles to ensure safe use of medical products and devices. Along with concerns about hackers taking control of networked devices, hospitals already are beginning to implement more wearable medical devices. And in coming years, nanotechnology — including nano-robots that operate at the cellular level within patients’ bodies — will present unprecedented challenges. When technologically advanced medical devices are improperly designed, manufactured or tested, the consequences for patients can be tragic.
In hospital settings, multiple medical devices and products can prove dangerous for patients. In some cases, hospital personnel may use devices incorrectly, leading to patient harm.
Anesthesia equipment, for example, presents frequent and serious problems for patients. Reports of faulty operation of this equipment include leaks in ventilators and incorrectly connected breathing circuits.
In other cases, the devices themselves are faulty due to defects in manufacturing, design or setup. The FDA has reported many cases of defibrillators that did not work correctly, including failing to discharge during an attempt to resuscitate a patient.
Medical Devices at Home
When medical devices used in the home are defective, they can present significant dangers for patients. Each year, more than 7 million Americans undergo medical care in their homes. Problems can arise when home consumers use devices intended for use in a medical facility by trained professionals.
In addition, untrained patients are less likely to spot manufacturing or design defects in medical products and devices they use at home. In many cases, devices used at home are not properly labeled, and up-to-date instructions may not be available. As a result, patients can suffer illness or injury.
Consult with an Experienced Attorney
How can you tell if you or a loved one have been injured by a dangerous medical product or device? Medical conditions are complex, and it’s often not possible for a patient to know exactly what caused symptoms like pain or infection.
The first step in determining the source of your injury is working with an experienced attorney. If you believe you’ve been the victim of a dangerous medical product or device, the attorneys at Meinhart, Smith, & Manning can help guide you through the legal process to receive rightful compensation. To schedule a free review of your case, contact the firm’s Louisville office.