When a person is injured, ill, or otherwise in need of medical care, he or she expect thats the equipment used to treat them is reasonably safe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, the number of defective medical device recalls have risen sharply over the last several years. Even more concerning is the risk that those defective devices pose to the general public: an undisclosed, often unpredictable risk of serious injury and/or wrongful death.
A Concerning Increase in Defective Medical Device Recalls
In 2006, the medical device manufacturing industry paid for a study which concluded that serious device-related safety problems are “extremely rare.” Of course, as with most self-funded studies, the findings may have been more than a little myopic. Reports from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows just how flawed the study may have been. Each year, the FDA receives more than 200,000 reports of defective medical devices. Even more concerning is that things are only getting worse. An FDA analysis found that, from 2007 to 2011, the recalls of moderate- to high-risk devices more than doubled.
Significance of the Impact on Human Lives
When looking at statistics from the FDA, it is clear to see that defective medical devices are slipping through the cracks and harming patients. In fact, the FDA claims that more than 2,000 patients die each year from defective medical devices alone. Furthermore, there are numerous real life examples of devices that have caused great harm to patients. Even more concerning is that some of these devices not only failed but the manufacturer refused to recall them despite having knowledge that the device could put patients at risk.
For example, Baxter intravenous infusion pumps, which are designed to deliver controlled amounts of fluids to patients (i.e. medication, nutrients, and fluids) were found to unexpectedly shut down or dispense the wrong amount of medication. Rather than recall the devices immediately, the manufacturere sent only a warning to physicians. It was not until after four deaths and 10 serious injuries that the pumps were pulled from the market.
Wrongful Death Because of a Defective Medical Device? Know Your Rights
If there is any sector in which a defective device is inexcusable, it is in the medical industry. Doctors are supposed to save lives, and the tools and equipment they use should held to the same (if not greater) standard that patients impose on their physicians. Products should be thoroughly and rigorously tested before being used in hospitals and clinics and, in the off-chance that a dangerous product reaches the market, it should be immediately recalled before it has the chance to do harm.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. These defective devices are leaving unsuspecting families grief-stricken because of the death of a loved one. Monetary compensation, though it may be owed, cannot ever begin to replace all that they have lost. However, it can cover the expenses incurred, help support a family after the loss of an income, and potentially reduce the overall impact that the loss of a loved one can have on the family’s long-term financial standing. It is not enough, but it is a form of justice.
At Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur, P.C., we help the families of victims seek the justice and compensation that is owed. Compassionate, dedicated, and sensitive to all that you have lost, we can represent you and your loved one in your defective medical device case. To learn more, contact an experienced Kane County product liability attorney today. Call 630-907-0909 for a free consultation.