Surgically Implanted Medical Device Injuries
Medical device litigation is an unfortunate consequence of failed or defective medical technology that promised patients a life completely or nearly free of pain and of physical restrictions. A medical device is any type of joint replacement or other tool used to treat a disability, disease or other debilitating condition. When a defective device fails to perform as promised, causes a condition that is life-threatening or worsens one, or its complications were not adequately disclosed, then a lawsuit against various parties may result.
Examples of Defective Medical Devices
There is a long list of surgically implanted medical devices that have caused unnecessary injuries, suffering and death for thousands of consumers and patients. Some of those devices that are now or have been the subject of individual and class action lawsuits are as follows:
- Medtronic pacemakers
- Medtronic and Guidant defibrillators
- Vail enclosed bed systems
- Stryker shoulder pain pumps
- Zimmer duron cup hip socket implant
- Profix II and Oxinium Genesis knee implants
- Zimmer knee replacement system
- NuvaRing contraceptive device
- Boston Scientific Taxus
Other surgically implanted medical device injuries have resulted from defective artificial joints, eye implants, breast implants and cochlears. This list contains just a few examples of many others that have failed patients’ expectations and led to subsequent surgeries, long recoveries, new and serious medical conditions or death.
What is Product Liability Litigation?
If you were injured or a loved one succumbed to surgically implanted medical device injuries or suffered an illness caused by a medical device, you have a right to compensation. A medical device is a consumer product and the designer, manufacturer and marketer of the device has a duty to the consumer and patient regarding the safe use of the product. They also must clearly disclose all risks or dangers in its approved use. A surgeon and a hospital may also be held accountable for medical malpractice if the surgeon was negligent regarding the implanting of the device by failing to meet the applicable standard of care or recommended and marketed the product for a use not approved by the FDA. In some cases, a testing facility may have not sufficiently tested the device or did not fully disclose its findings.
To hold the manufacturer of the device liable, you must demonstrate the following elements of a product liability cause of action:
- The medical device was in a defective condition that rendered it unreasonably dangerous
- The device was placed in the market in an unreasonably dangerous condition
- The product defect was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries
Designers are also held to certain standards of care. If the device could have been designed safely with the technology then available at a reasonable cost and failed to do, it could be held liable. In cases where a recall has been ordered, it can be unmistakable evidence of the failure of the device.
Many lawsuits are founded on the basis of a failure to warn of the risks and dangers of the device or that the company or entity did not provide clear and adequate instructions for its use. As indicated, some devices are marketed for uses that have not been approved by the FDA.
Injuries from Flawed Medical Devices
Injuries from use of a defective medical device can be serious or catastrophic from leakage or metal toxicity in some cases. These include organ failure, stroke, heart attack, internal bleeding, serious infections, necrosis, and injuries to the thyroid gland and nervous system.
Class Action Lawsuits
Class actions are mass tort litigation that can include hundreds or thousands of injured plaintiffs. Designers and manufacturers of medical device are often multi-national companies with massive resources and teams of experienced and aggressive defense attorneys. Surgeons are defended by equally zealous insurance defense lawyers. To meet the challenges of litigating corporate entities with bottomless resources, a class action lawsuit combines discovery, motion practice and other litigation activity under a single court for the benefit of similarly situated plaintiffs. Any medical device lawyer representing a class member can share in the discovery results and litigation costs and must abide by any court rulings. A representative plaintiff or plaintiffs is designated and a trial may ensue with the verdict possibly affecting the outcome of the class action.
Plaintiffs can opt out of a class action suit or a multi-district litigation (MDL) and have their individual claims litigated. In many cases if liability is demonstrated, the class action settles with a fund established to compensate the members of the class based on the nature and extent of their injuries.
Damages in a Medical Device Lawsuit
Medical device litigation is a part of tort or injury law. Under strict liability law, if a product is shown to be unreasonably dangerous for its intended use, you only have to demonstrate and prove your damages. Compensation can be awarded for the following:
- Past and present medical expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
In Massachusetts, punitive or exemplary damages may be awarded only in wrongful death claims.
Consult Boston Medical Device Lawyer Paul Tetzel
Paul Tetzel is a Boston medical device lawyer who can handle any type of defective medical device claims for his injured clients. His dedication in handling complex litigation matters has made him a much sought after attorney for clients who have suffered serious and permanent injuries. Call him today for a free assessment of your injury claim.