Research and technology have helped to revolutionize the healthcare industry. From impressive new diagnostic scans to pattern-recognition AI diagnoses, the innovation never stops. What can stop, however, is an individual medical device. And when this happens, the results can be catastrophic. So, who do you hold responsible when the equipment is to blame? The company that built it.
Chicago personal injury lawyers have been helping patients seek justice over defective medical devices for years. Here’s what you need to know.
Product Liability or Medical Malpractice?
Most lawsuits involving healthcare go one of two ways. Medical malpractice is for the human element when doctors or their staff make mistakes or are negligent. Then there is product liability, which goes after device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies when their products cause harm.
An example of medical malpractice: imagine you are due for a routine colonoscopy with anesthesia. You go in with an empty stomach and put your life in the hands of the anesthesiologist. Now imagine you wake up during the procedure because they didn’t dose you correctly— that’s malpractice. If a doctor brushes off your concerns and doesn’t diagnose you or refuses medication, and you get a second opinion or get worse— that’s malpractice. If a doctor brushes off your medical concerns as an overweight female and you later learn the weight was a symptom of PCOS— that’s medical malpractice.
Now, let’s take a look at product liability. If you rely on an insulin pump to help your body regulate its internal processes, but they later find the pumps susceptible to cyber attacks— that’s a product liability case. If a pharmaceutical company assures pregnant women and their doctors that they are safe to take as much as needed, but then data finds a link between high levels of acetaminophen in umbilical cords correlates to ADHD and Autism diagnosis— that’s a product liability case.
Product liability cases or brought up against the manufacturer or the distributor. In the acetaminophen example, retailers are accused of not providing proper information regarding the medicine they sold; with the insulin pumps, the manufacturer would be responsible for not protecting their software.
The Dangers of Defective Medical Devices
A lot of consumers don’t realize just how many things qualify as a ‘medical device’. The FDA directs consumers to a list of qualified products before expanding that it is any ‘device or accessory’ that is meant to help in any stage of treatment, including diagnostics, treatment, and symptom mitigation. Anything from the bandages in your medicine cabinet to the MRI scanners in your local hospital can count. While some defective medical device failures are fairly inconsequential, like a small bandage that didn’t have its adhesive applied properly, others can be devastating, like the aforementioned hacked insulin pumps. In those cases, outside people gained access to sensitive medical controls and actively harmed diabetics.
The consequences for a defective medical device can be downright fatal. That’s why lawyers are working around the clock to hold manufacturers responsible.
Justice and Compensation for Defective Medical Devices
Chicago personal injury lawyers fight for victims injured by someone else’s negligence, incompetence, or maliciousness. This includes patients who were victims of medical malpractice or failed medical devices. These lawyers aim to hold the industry accountable for the harm it creates, maintain the high standards healthcare professionals are held to, and help victims receive compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages.
If you or a loved one have been harmed because a medical device failed, find a local Chicago lawyer with experience in both medical malpractice and product liability. If they have a successful case record to go with that experience, then you can trust that they have the knowledge and experience to help you. Once you retain a lawyer, they can help you gather evidence from documentation. An added perk of working with a law firm? They can contact experts in the medical field and fields related to the device in question to help solidify your claim. They will take over the nitty-gritty of the lawsuit; you can focus on your family, knowing that Chicago lawyers are fighting for you, your family, and future patients.
Medical care in the United States is expensive, even with insurance. A malfunctioning medical device can lead to thousands of dollars in expenses, and that’s before you add in medications, missed work, or supplies like mobility aids. If you were hurt because of a defective medical device, then you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible and take the first steps towards justice and closure.