Comparing Medical Malpractice and Products Liability: Know your Rights

The practice of medicine goes well beyond knowledge of illnesses, diseases, and of the human body.  It also involves knowing about and using countless tools, machines, and contraptions.  Therefore, when patients are injured during the course of medical care, the cause might be tied to medical malpractice, products liability or a combination of both.  

The experienced Kingston medical malpractice attorney knows that the difference between medical malpractice and products liability is vast, but the successful attorney must be knowledgeable in both fields.

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional (physician, nurse, pharmacist, etc.) does something wrong that ends up harming a patient.  The standard of care due to the patient is breached, that breach (mistake) injures the patient and as a result the patient suffers damages (lost income, permanent disability, medical costs, pain and suffering, etc.).

Examples of products that medical professionals use are drugs, X-ray machines, implants such as pace makers and breast implants, pins, screws, rods, etc.   They are produced by any number of companies.  If patients are injured by medical products, the victim can sue the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer if certain conditions are satisfied.  

The product must have injured the patient.  The product must also have been defective in some way; it was defectively designed, defectively manufactured, or the victim was not warned about the products dangers.  Marketing defects should be included too.  

If a patient receives the correct medical care, but the product used was defective, the patient will most likely only have a good case against the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of the product.  If the product is not defective, but the medical professional was negligent in providing patient care, then the medical professional is in trouble but the product source is not.

When do victims have claims against product makers and sellers, and at the same time have a legitimate legal claim against a medical professional?  

Take back surgery for example.  Surgically repairing the human spine often involves implanting pins, screws, rods, and other contraptions into a patient’s back.  Let us say that one of these products is known to fail and the medical community is telling doctor’s to avoid using the product; some hospitals are even forbidding its use at their facilities.  The implant manufacturer denies allegations surrounding defects in their products.

Nonetheless, one surgeon, against hospital rules, continues to use the defective spinal implant.  A patient is then injured by the product.  This patient will have a probable claim against the doctor based on medical malpractice, and the patient will have a probable claim against the product manufacturer. 

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.

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