Medical Malpractice

Medical devices save lives every day, with many people being unable to live without them. These devices are not perfect. We can’t be sustained by medical devices and medicine indefinitely, and sometimes people are hurt or die because their condition was more than our medical devices could handle. But there are instances where the medical device fails or malfunctions when it shouldn’t have. If a medical device malfunction causes you or a loved one an injury, you may have a case.

What is a Medical Device Malfunction Injury?

When your physician prescribes a medical device, you expect it to help and heal you. When it doesn’t and causes an injury, it is usually for one of four common reasons:

  • Design Defect: There was an error in the design of the device. It never did what it was intended to do or it has unforeseen side effects that largely outweigh its benefits.
  • Installation/Use Error: Some devices either have to be inserted into a person’s body or have a valve that has to be. For example, to go on dialysis, someone needs to have a dialysis line inserted. If it’s inserted incorrectly, or left in for the incorrect amount of time, this can cause substantial damage to the kidney and other body parts when it’s later put to use. Similar issues arise with many other medical devices.
  • Manufacturing Defect: When a medical device’s design is sound, but still malfunctions, the manufacturing plant may have made it incorrectly, leading to your injury.
  • Failure to Warn of the Risks: When a medical device causes issues that you didn’t know about, but the doctor, manufacturer, and/or developer did, this is a failure to warn you of the risks. While the medical device isn’t malfunctioning on a technical level, it’s hurting you more than it’s helping you, and you weren’t warned that this would happen.

Whose Responsible for Medical Device Malfunctions?

Who is responsible and who you should file a suit against depends on which injury type you suffered. For design defects, the company that funded the research and development of the medical device is responsible and should receive your lawsuit.

With installation errors, it’s a bit different. While the surgeons are the ones responsible, you should file your lawsuit against the hospital that employs them. They are able to pay you damages, often through their insurance. The surgeon may have even made the error due to mismanagement which leads to miscommunication and overworked employees.

Manufacturing defects are simpler. When the manufacturer causes a defect, they are the ones who are responsible for your injury and should receive your lawsuit.

When it comes to a medical device hurting you after someone failed to warn you of the risks, multiple people can receive your lawsuit. Typically, it’s the doctor who is responsible for informing you of the risks, and so the hospital that employs them should receive your lawsuit. When the doctor doesn’t know the risks or was not informed to tell you, then it may be the company that researched and developed the device. It’s rare that the manufacturer is responsible for errors like this unless the manufacturing process led to a widely known defect.

Examples of Medical Device Injuries

Medical device injuries aren’t always life-threatening or something that can be easily identified. They run the gambit of injuries, so it’s important that you see a doctor and make sure your medical device is working. Here are some common examples of injuries our clients have experienced before:

  • IVC Filters: These devices prevent blood clots from going into someone’s lungs. These are usually put in during a short surgery, and if left it too long, they can move and cause other injuries.
  • Hip Implants: Many hip implants are metal-on-metal, which can rub together and release metal like cobalt and chromium ions into the bloodstream. These ions can cause problems such as cancer, thyroid disease, heart disease, and neurological difficulties.
  • NuvaRings: It is not uncommon for women who use this form of birth control to experience blood clotting after using a NuvaRing.
  • Power Morcellators: These are devices used in minimally invasive surgeries to cut tissue into smaller pieces and make a small incision site. These have also been known to cause a problem if they break up tissue with undetected cancer cells. This can lead to a larger and potentially life-threatening problem.

What Should You Do If You’ve Been Injured By a Medical Device Malfunction?

Medical devices are designed to improve the lives of patients by aiding in the diagnosis and/or treatment of injuries and diseases. Unfortunately, defective medical devices and medical device recalls are far too common. Defects in devices such as joint replacement components, stents, pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, cosmetic implants, bone screws, dialysis machines, ventilators, and infusion pumps have resulted in serious injuries and even death.

The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. help defective medical device victims get their lives back on track and the compensation they are entitled to. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial hardships that medical device failures can cause. We are prepared to help victims of defective medical devices pursue maximum compensation through settlement, alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation), or in state or federal courts.

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.’s best medical malpractice attorneys are well-versed in the complex medical and legal issues associated with defective medical device lawsuits and strive to achieve optimal recovery for our clients. If you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of a defective medical device, we encourage you to contact us today.