When your doctor recommends a medical device, you trust their judgment that the product will serve its designated purpose. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. If you sustained an injury by a medical device in Cheyenne, Wyoming, consider contacting a product liability lawyer to determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Were You Injured by a Dangerous Medical Device in Cheyenne, Wyoming?
Medical devices are assigned to patients to serve a specific purpose, such as restarting their heart or providing a damaged joint with new mobility. Sometimes, a medical device fails to perform its prescribed function and causes the patient injury. If you have experienced physical damage from using a dangerous medical device, a lawyer may be able to help you.
Medical devices must undergo stringent testing before being released for widespread use on patients, but that doesn’t mean they’re infallible. Even though the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires manufacturers to ensure their products meet a set standard, some patients will encounter faulty devices. A malfunctioning medical item can leave patients with ongoing health issues that are expensive to treat and negatively impact their quality of life.
Types of Product Liability for Medical Devices
When a device becomes dangerous due to manufacturing error, it cannot perform as intended due to faulty manufacturing. The FDA approves devices based on specific guidelines and parameters for manufacturing. If the regulations are deviated from during creation, the product will not perform as it should and can no longer be considered safe. This defect is the most common.
A marketing defect directly pertains to an issue with a product’s advertisements and instructions. This defect includes failure to warn patients and care providers about risks associated with specific devices. If manufacturers do not adequately caution patients about the potential dangers, then a patient cannot make an educated decision about using a product.
When a product is manufactured as designed, but the design is considered unreasonably hazardous, that is a design defect. However, design defects are uncommon, as the FDA is strict regarding what product designs they approve for medical use.
Ask a Product Liability Lawyer About Your Defective Medical Device
Regardless of size or function, any medical device can cause complications or fail to perform correctly. When a device is defective, it can migrate from its intended location, wear out quickly, cause pain or infection, or even stop working altogether. Depending on the device’s purpose, a malfunction can cause severe injury or death.
In addition, a faulty device usually requires removal and replacement, which can be expensive and time-consuming. If the failing device requires surgery or another extensive procedure to remove and replace, patients may have to miss work while they recover. This financial hardship can take a toll on their quality of life.
FDA Medical Device Recalls
If a company doesn’t recall a defective item, the Food and Drug Administration has the authority to enforce a recall of a hazardous product. The FDA keeps a record of every medical device recall and notes whether the recall was voluntary or involuntary. Companies must notify the FDA if they recall a medical device, and all recalled products are listed in an online database.
This searchable list is accessible by individuals and companies. Patients can check to see if there is an active recall on the product that injured them or a loved one. However, not all recalls are permanent. For example, if a company addresses an issue that violated FDA regulations or safety requirements, the product will be removed from the recall list.
There are three categories of recalled devices. The categories are determined by the level of risk associated with the recalled product.
Devices in this class pose the most danger to patients. These recalls involve product issues that have a reasonably high risk of causing death or severe health problems.
A device falling in this category has the potential to cause temporary or repairable health conditions. Therefore, the product could cause severe health problems or death, but the risk is less than recalled devices in Class I.
Items in this class are recalled but don’t pose a high risk of causing permanent health problems. They are the least likely to cause death or severe injury.
Common Defective Medical Devices
Specific medical devices are well-known for injuring patients, causing them to be very familiar to product liability lawyers. These are some common offenders in recent history:
Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filters
These tiny devices serve the vital purpose of breaking up blot clots before they can cause a pulmonary embolism. Unfortunately, when left in the body for an extended period, they begin to break down. They can also migrate from their intended location. The damage and subsequent migration can be fatal if the filter travels to the cardiopulmonary system.
Botox as an Overactive Bladder Treatment
Botox injections are sometimes used to treat individuals suffering from an overactive bladder. However, the use of Botox for this purpose has resulted in numerous patients suffering from severe urinary tract infections and other dangerous complications.
Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants
While metal joint implants may seem like a sturdy choice for those needing joint reconstruction, nothing could be further from the truth. Repeated friction of the metal pieces rubbing against one another causes damage to the surrounding bone and tissue. In addition, small metal shavings can also become dislodged, increasing the risk of complications, discomfort, and infection in the joint.
What Patients Need to Know
The product is the most valuable element when proving a defective medical device caused an injury. Preserving the faulty piece of equipment confirms the item was not tampered with and that the product malfunctioned without interference from the patient. Collecting the evidence is more straightforward with an external device, such as a heart rate monitor or insulin pump.
It will be more challenging if the dangerous device is internal, such as the mesh for supporting pelvic floor muscles or a replacement knee joint. If surgery to remove the offending product hasn’t already occurred, talk to the doctor performing the procedure and request the product be saved. If that isn’t possible, ask for the object to be photographed from multiple angles.
The statute of limitations for lawsuits regarding product liability differs by state. Each state legislature has laws determining how long individuals have to file personal injury cases. For example, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, patients can bring a lawsuit against the product manufacturer for four years following the device malfunctioning.
Call a Professional
It’s easy to feel hopeless when the device intended to heal does the opposite. Patients should be compensated for the medical costs incurred while fixing their injuries. Contacting a product liability lawyer is the first step toward getting the justice the injured patient deserves.
While most medical devices are helpful to the patient using them, when a medical device causes injury, the issue must be addressed. Having a caring and skilled lawyer handling your case is critical if you seek compensation for your injuries. Contact the Ochs Law Firm and speak with our talented team of lawyers to see what action you should take regarding your defective medical device.