Medical Device Defects and Patient Rights

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

The practice of medicine is an exercise in helping people.  If fact, many doctors went to medical school out of a passion for helping the sick.  Even though medical professionals do indeed want to help, sometimes their services bring additional harm to patients. 

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys know that sometimes when patients are injured from a medical procedure, someone other than the treating physician may be responsible for the harm.  Commonly these other parties are companies that design, manufacture, and/or distribute medical implant devices.  This is where medical malpractice and products liability litigation converge.

Medical devices can become defective in two primary ways; by either design defect or manufacturing defect.  Devices that which were improperly designed are essentially inherently defective.  No matter how competently manufactured, these devices are not adequate to cure a patient’s needs.  Either the device just does not cure the patient, or the side effects of using the device are too great as compared to the benefits of its use. 

Improper manufacture is the other main way in which a medical device becomes defective.  This occurs when a device is designed properly, but some flaw in the manufacturing process rendered the device defective for use in the patient. 

A third type of device defect exists and that relates to failures to warn product users of harms associated with using the device.  Failing to adequately warn device users on the hazards of improper use or dangers of using the device is also a form of rendering a product defective for use because such may cause foreseeable injury to the patient that could have been prevented.  

Any party within the chain of distribution can be held accountable for the defect.  Manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and even the medical professional how gave you the device can be liable for your injuries.  Remember that medical professionals owe you a duty to not cause harm.  These professionals must obey the standard of care dictated by the profession in regard to your care.  If the medical provider knew that the device was not fit for use, or if the doctor should have known that the device was defective, but nonetheless he/she still gave you the device, then the medical professional may have committed medical malpractice. 

Any object not natural to the human body that was given to the patient as part of medical treatment is considered to be a medical device.  Typically people have heard about defective hip replacement components, or various meshes that are inserted into a patient’s body.  But a defective device could also be a sling, brace, cane, crutch, or walker that was designed improperly, manufactured improperly, or provided to the patient without adequate instructions and warnings. 

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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