Surgically Implanted Medical Devices and Injury Liability
What are Surgically Implanted Medical Devices?
Surgically implanted medical devices are instuments that a surgeon leaves inside a patient for an extended period of time for some health benefit. Some examples of surgically implanted medical devices include:
- Breast implants,
- Eye implants,
- Defibrillators, and
- Artificial joints.
If a Patient is Injured, Who is Liable?
If a patient is injured because of a surgically implanted medical device, depending on the situation, there may be several distinct people who are liable for their injuries. Generally, that can include:
- Surgeon's professional associates,
- Hospitals, and
- Manufacturers of surgically implanted medical devices.
The two most common defendants in a lawsuit for personal injury coming from a surgically implanted medical device are the surgeon who performed the operation and the manufacturer of the device.
Generally, the surgeon who performs the operation that implants a medical device is liable under a theory of medical malpractice or negligence. In order to be successful in a lawsuit against a surgeon, an injured patient has to prove:
- The surgeon owed them a duty in implanting a medical device,
- The surgeon did not meet the applicable standard of care when implanting the medical device, and
- The surgeon's actions caused the injuries to the patient.
Lawsuits of this type are very difficult, because determining what the standard of care should be for a surgeon is extremely hard to establish.
Generally, the manufacturer of a surgically implanted medical device can be liable to an injured patient under a theory of strict liability for a defective product. As such, for an injured patient to be successful in a lawsuit against a manufacturer, they must show:
- The manufacturer engaged in the sale of surgically implanted medical devices,
- The surgically implanted medical device was in a defective condition which made it unreasonably dangerous,
- The manufacturer placed the surgically implanted medical device into the market place in its defective condition, and
- The defective condition of the surgically implanted medical device was the cause of the patient's injury.
Are There Any Defenses?
In a lawsuit against a surgeon or manufacturer for injuries associated with a surgically implanted medical device, several defenses exist. They include:
- Protection from the Medical Device Amendments of 1967 to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,
- Manufacturer was not engaged in the sale of surgically implanted medical devices,
- The defect of the surgically implanted medical device was caused by an outside force,
- The patient was negligent themselves and did not take the necessary precautions.
In a Successful Lawsuit, What Can Be Recovered?
If a surgeon or manufacturer is successfully sued for an injury associated with a surgically implanted medical devise, and depending on the circumstances, a patient or their survivor can usually recover the following:
- Damages for physical and emotional pain and suffering,
- Medical expenses, both present and future,
- Wrongful death,
- Loss of consortium,
- Punitive damages.
Do I Need an Attorney if I am Injured From a Surgically Implanted Medical Device?
If you have been injured because of a surgically implanted medical device, it is highly recommended for you to contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. Only they will be able to explain the issues, help defend your rights, and assist in getting you any compensation you might deserve.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 03-31-2011 02:30 PM PDT