Surgically Implanted Medical Devices and Injury Liability
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What Are Surgically Implanted Medical Devices?
Surgically implanted medical devices are instruments 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
- Transvaginal mesh
- Blood clot filters such as IVC filters
- Artificial joints, such as hip replacements and knee implants
If a Patient Is Injured, Who Is Liable?
If a patient is injured because of a surgically implanted medical device, there may be several distinct people who are liable for their injuries. Generally, that can include:
- Professional associates
- 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.
1) Surgeon Liability
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. Largely because determining what the standard of care should be for a surgeon is extremely to demonstrate.
2) Manufacturer Liability
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 introduced the 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. Common defenses 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
What Can Be Recovered In a Successful Lawsuit?
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 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 a lawyer will be able to thoroughly explain any issues, help defend your rights, and assist in getting you any compensation you deserve.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 12-21-2015 09:15 AM PST
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