When it comes to medical products like drugs or devices such as implants, it’s only natural that patients trust their doctors to make the decisions. For instance, during surgery, a patient often has no idea that a specific brand of screw or plate is being used to fix a fractured bone. The patient trusts the surgeon implicitly. However, there is cause for concern. No product on this earth is safe from defects. This is true of drugs, medications, and all types of medical devices, whether it’s a walking device or a surgical screw. Just because a medical doctor recommends it or uses it does not automatically mean that it is safe.
These products fail and when they do, patients and their families are often left dealing with the damages. Over the past few years, there have been multiple recalls of unsafe, defective medical products such as drugs, medical implants, and other related devices. For instance, there have been ongoing lawsuits filed over the past few years relating to defective hip implants or hip replacement implants.
Drug companies often recall medications for various reasons. Just over the last 6 months, there have been multiple recalls due to mislabeling. In addition, there have been multiple recalls due to bacterial contamination of medications. This is a particularly dangerous concern. An already immunocompromised patient who receives contaminated medication may not be able to ward off the resulting infection. The consequences are often fatal.
For example, a patient at a hospital in Philadelphia is given the wrong medication which was mislabeled by the drug manufacturer. The patient is already recovering from major surgery, suffers a serious reaction and dies. Consider a similar example, where a patient develops a serious infection due to contaminated medication and dies.
What happens when a patient is injured, or worse dies, as the result of a defective medical device, such as an implant? Infection, subsequent surgeries, and complications due to abnormal bone growth or development of scar tissue, etc., are very common in these kinds of situations. The classic example involves a patient who has to undergo multiple surgeries due to a defective implant. Do patients or their families have legal rights to receive compensation?
Many factors come into play when determining whether a patient has legal rights when a medical device or drug causes injury. These cases are very complex because they often involve two of the most confusing areas of law: medical malpractice and products liability. That’s because when medical device or drug companies are sued in medical product injury lawsuits, they often turn around and point fingers at doctors, hospitals and surgeons. Therefore, these cases often involve claims against major drug companies or major medical device manufacturers as well as complex claims of medical negligence.
In a nutshell, patients are often going up against some of the nation’s largest insurance companies which insure doctors, hospitals and drug/medical device companies. These kinds of cases require legal advice, and the sooner a lawyer is hired, the better.
The single most important factor in determining whether a patient has legal rights to compensation is evidence of fault. So long as there is clear evidence of negligence or fault, an injured patient may be able to receive financial compensation. Basically, there must be clear evidence that the medical product was defective. In addition, there must be clear evidence that the defect, rather than something else, like a disease or illness, caused injury.
Claims for Financial Compensation
Injured patients, and in the event of death, surviving family members, may be able to obtain compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, etc. Read about wrongful death and survival actions in Pennsylvania. Oftentimes, medical product injuries require long term medical care and treatment. Therefore, in these kinds of cases, claims for future medical bills are common. For example, a patient suffers a serious infection due to a defective medical product. The infection causes permanent kidney damage. The patient may need dialysis for the rest of her life. Future costs for dialysis would therefore be included in the claim for damages.
Medical Product Injuries – Call Our Lawyers
If you or a family member suffered injury due to a medical product or drug, please call our office to schedule a free consultation. Our law firm has offices in 4 states and is uniquely positioned to handle cases across the country, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 800.220.7600
Related Medical Product Injury Law Articles
- Res Ipsa Loquitur in a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Case Involving a Broken Catheter The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is pretty rare. In Latin, it means, “the thing speaks for itself.” In other words, the negligence is obvious. In medical malpractice cases, one of the only times a patient could potentially use this theory is when a surgical instrument is left inside the body.
- Proving Medical Malpractice in a Case Involving a Medical Device in Pennsylvania Use of medical devices in surgeries is on the rise. However, pace makers, stents, and surgical devices such as pins and screws are all subject to various issues including negligent placement, negligent removal, and defective design or manufacture.
Last updated: April 27, 2015