With advances in medical technology, many medical procedures that used to be daunting are now routine. Patients often arrive at a hospital or surgical center early in the morning and leave by mid-afternoon with few after-effects from the procedure or anesthesia. Many are able to even return to work the next day.
For doctors, medical procedures are an effective way of monitoring for certain conditions or diagnosing a new illness. Procedures are also lucrative medical treatments, and the more procedures a doctor squeezes in during a day, the more money the practice or hospital is reimbursed by insurance companies.
Companies that design and manufacture medical devices also stand to profit significantly from the widespread use of one of their devices. In some cases, the race to bring new products to the market results in great innovations, with patients benefiting from less invasive but equally effective procedures. In other cases, however, the drive for profits may cause a company to overlook faulty equipment and rush a product to market. Companies may also provide doctors with inadequate instructions on how to use or clean a device.
In Illinois, if a patient is injured because of a defective medical device, the patient may be able to recover financial damages for the injuries they sustained. A device may be considered defective based on a design flaw, a flaw in the manufacturing process, or because of inadequate instructions to doctors concerning the proper use of the device. In these cases, patients do not need to prove that the product designer or manufacturer was careless in causing their injuries. Instead, they need only show that the device was unreasonably dangerous when it left the control of the company and that the defective device was the cause of their injuries. Under the law, this is called strict liability.
By removing the fault requirement in these cases, Illinois makes it easier to succeed in a lawsuit against a medical device designer or manufacturer. As a result, medical device companies have an additional incentive to produce safe products or risk significant liability. Even so, defects happen, and patients get injured as a result.
Take a recent case in North Carolina, for example. A man went to the hospital for a routine procedure that required the use of a duodenoscope. Duodenoscopes are lighted, flexible tubes that are inserted through a patient’s mouth, throat, stomach, and the top portion of the small intestine in order to drain fluids from pancreatic and biliary ducts. Unfortunately, the patient died less than one year after the procedure, due to a “superbug” that he was exposed to during the procedure.
According a news report, the patient’s wife is suing the company that designed the duodenoscope, alleging that it was designed in a way that prevents effective cleaning between procedures, even if the hospital or surgical center follows the company’s instructions for disinfecting the device. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued safety alerts for both the duodenoscope and the company’s cleaning equipment.
Before he died, the plaintiff’s husband suffered from open wounds, excruciating pain, a lack of oxygen, delirium, significant weight loss, and repeated hospitalizations.
Have You or Someone You Love Been Injured By a Defective Medical Device?
The lawyers at Moll Law Group want to help you if you have been injured by a defective medical device during a procedure or surgery. If you went in for a routine procedure but are now suffering from unanticipated consequences, we have the experience and dedication to help you recover compensation for your injuries. Our lawyers are also committed to ensuring that your case helps other patients avoid procedures involving similar defective products. We believe that too many defective products find their way into the operating room and that by helping you, we can also help eliminate the use of these dangerous devices. For a free consultation, call 312.462.1700.
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Medical Device Manufacturer Recalls Hip Replacement Part, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, November 14, 2015.
Naperville Residents Warned of Risk of Addiction to Prescription Drugs, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, November 21, 2015.
One Person Killed, Eight Injured In Accident on Interstate 57, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, November 17, 2015.