Jeanne Lenzer, author of “The Danger Within Us: America’s Untested, Unregulated Medical Device Industry and One Man’s Battle to Survive It”, recently published an article in the New York Times that might give Iowans considering a hip or knee replacement pause. Defective medical device injuries and deaths are more common than you might expect.
Lenzer tells us that approximately 32 million Americans – roughly 1 in 10 – have at least one medical device implanted, with devices ranging from artificial joints such as metal hips or knees to cardiac stents, heart valves and birth control devices.
While many are helped by these devices, others are harmed due to the fact that the medical device industry is largely unregulated. Although most would assume the FDA has a rigorous approval process, the sad truth is that most high risk devices on the market today have undergone no clinical testing at all.
In fact, widespread loopholes in the approval process has left doctors and patients at the mercy of manufacturers’ claims that the devices are safe, which is not always the case.
Among the medical device injuries detailed in Lenzer’s article include a metal on metal hip replacement defect, which resulted in metallosis after cobalt leaked into a patient’s surrounding tissue, destroying it, and, in the process, harmed his heart and brain.
Another case involves a defective wire in a defibrillator that resulted in injuries and death when the device misfired or fractured. After the device was eventually recalled, 15 percent of patients trying to have it removed suffered major complications, roughly 40,000 people worldwide.
Unsettling as it may seem, medical interventions are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. and implantation of medical devices are part of the problem. Those injured and their families sometimes go on to seek legal damages for the injuries they have suffered hoping to hold those responsible accountable.
In fact, in a recent lawsuit filed by 9,000 patients, plaintiffs were awarded a $247 million trial verdict for the serious harm caused by the very same hip implant that leaked cobalt. Most exasperating in the details of the lawsuit, is that the company went on to sell the product to consumers despite reports of very serious problems.
Due to continuing lax oversight and diminishing regulations in general, medical device lawsuits will surely increase, which, unfortunately correlates to a higher number of patients being harmed. For now, it is advisable for patients and their families to do there due diligence by researching medical devices they are considering, when possible, to reduce their risk of suffering a defective medical device injury.
Des Moines (IA) Defective Medical Device Product Liability Lawyer
Holding Negligent Medical Device Manufacturers Responsible
Dangerous or defective medical devices are not limited to hip or knee replacements, but may include implants such as cardiac stents, heart valves, or pacemakers, faulty surgical instruments, prosthetics and more. If you are injured due to a defective medical device, it may give rise to a product liability claim in a personal injury lawsuit so it is important to consult a highly experienced product liability, personal injury and medical negligence lawyer for guidance on your losses. If you or your family member has been harmed by a dangerous or defective medical device, contact the Des Moines defective medical device injury law offices of Marc A. Humphrey for help today at 515-331-3510.
Source: New York Times, “Why Your Hip May Really Be Killing You”, by Jeanne Lenzer, January 14, 2018.