Charleston Defective Medical Device Attorney
Health issues without a surgical remedy can have debilitating results. In many cases, innovative devices have saved people from untimely death and provided them with a better quality of life. But what happens when the remedy has the potential to leave the patient with even more devastating results?
Unfortunately, this situation is more common than many people know. In 2018, the Associated Press found that defective medical devices have caused more than 80,000 deaths since 2008. Between 2008 and 2017, more than 60,000 injuries were reported involving surgical mesh, over 103,000 related to hip replacements, more than 78,000 for spinal stimulators, and just under 60,000 involving defibrillators.
Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers is taking a stand against those responsible for the injuries that patients sustain due to the commonplace use of defective medical devices of all types. Whatever the device— be it a Bair Hugger Warmer Blanket, power morcellators, transvaginal mesh, Stryker hip replacements, or metal hip replacements — our defective medical device attorney is ready to advocate for your rights and deserved compensation.
We are currently in litigation pursuing claims on these two prominent issues: inferior vena cava (IVC) blood clot filters and hernia mesh implants. Our Charleston defective medical device attorneys are currently accepting cases and pursuing lawsuits for complications from both surgical procedures.
The Dangers of IVC Blood Clot Filters
These filters are small, cage-like devices with thin legs that adhere inside the inferior vena cava, a large vein that connects to the heart. Once the filter has been placed, it’s supposed to collect clots, preventing them from reaching the heart, brain, or other organs. In this way, the filters offer an alternative for patients who can’t use blood thinners for various reasons. While these IVC blood clot filters were intended to prevent clots from migrating to the patient’s brain, lungs, or heart, the filter’s fibers are prone to disintegrate or become displaced while in the body, causing organ damage. The device can also migrate, and other possible complications include filter fracture, difficulty removing the filter, and blood clots.
An adamant urging to issue safety warnings to doctors using the IVC procedure was issued to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 when the dangers of this device began surfacing five years earlier. Even with warnings, devices were not retrieved, and patients continued to suffer unnecessarily. If you had an IVC blood clot filter placed and suffered any of the complications listed above or other issues, please contact us for a free evaluation of your case.
The Dangers of Hernia Mesh Implants
Hernia meshes are implanted in a post-hernia surgical procedure and are constructed to support damaged or weakened tissue as it is healing. However, due to the polypropylene composition of certain meshes, decomposition and material migration throughout the body is inevitable.
Interestingly, the FDA currently has quite an extensive list of questions to ask your doctor when considering hernia surgery with mesh implants. Severe and debilitating complications can follow this surgery — such as nerve damage, bowel obstruction, sudden loss of teeth, liver abnormalities, fistula formation, hernia recurrence, renal failure, and more.
As it stands, doctors may opt for either biological or synthetic hernia mesh devices. However, in the following chart from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), you can see the dangers associated with both, though more with synthetic. The JAMA abstract from 2016 is viewable on the site.
Other Dangerous Devices
While hernia mesh and IVC blood clot filters are two of the most common defective medical device cases, there are many other potentially dangerous devices. Here are a few other common devices that may cause issues:
There are several different kinds of hip implants known for causing complications. Metal implants have sometimes caused metal poisoning by leaching into the bloodstream. DePuy implants have high failure rates, and many people with these models need to have them replaced earlier than expected, undergoing another serious surgery.
If you’ve experienced unexplained symptoms after a hip implant, consider asking your doctor if metal poisoning from your new hip could be a possible cause. They can look up what kind of implant you received and run tests for metal or cobalt poisoning.
Da Vinci Robot-Assisted Surgeries
In this situation, the defective device isn’t implanted in the patient but is used externally. The Da Vinci robot was designed to assist surgeons with delicate surgeries that prove difficult for human hands. It’s praised for precise motions and a remarkably steady arm. It also helps reduce fatigue in surgeons.
Unfortunately, not every patient has had a good experience with their Da Vinci-assisted surgery. Currently, multiple lawsuits are pending related to problems with the silicon tips, an increased risk of infection, the company’s failure to give clear instructions about cleaning the robot, or equipment malfunctions where the robot may not release its grip when necessary causing tissue damage. The FDA has also criticized the device’s maker, Intuitive, for its inadequate safety notification procedures, noting that some surgical system malfunctions weren’t properly reported.
MedTronic and Guidant Defibrillators
Defibrillators are devices to correct a potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythm called an arrhythmia. You may be familiar with external defibrillator boxes placed in many public buildings to be used if a person suffers a cardiac event. But for patients whose condition can’t be controlled with medication, a smaller version can be implanted under the skin and connected to the heart through wires called leads. If the heart rhythm becomes unstable, the device delivers a small shock to nudge it back into a normal rhythm.
In 2007, MedTronic announced they would stop selling a particular model of lead they called “Sprint Fidelis” due to the risk that it could fracture. These fractured leads caused a possibility that the patient could receive unnecessary shocks and loss of output. However, MedTronic did not recommend the removal of the defibrillators, stating that the risks of removing and replacing the pacemaker outweighed the risks of a lead fracture. They identified five patients whose deaths may have been related to the device, but it’s unclear how many other people may have been harmed by it.
Meanwhile, Guidant recalled three models of their pacemakers, stating that in some cases, the devices may not deliver an electrical shock when needed. They later expanded the recall to include a larger list of affected models. Two deaths may be related to the models from the earlier recall, and five patients needed device replacements after having difficulties with the later models.
If you’ve had complications with any defibrillator after it was implanted, you may want to check with your doctor to find out which model you received. Then speak with a defective medical device attorney to learn more about your options.
Transvaginal Mesh Injuries
Transvaginal mesh is implanted to reinforce the vaginal wall, helping patients with Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) or stress incontinence. Unfortunately, problems with this type of mesh are common. In some cases, the mesh starts to break down not long after implantation and may be difficult to remove once it’s entwined with nearby tissue. This is called “mesh erosion,” and in severe cases, it may lead to organ perforation, as sharp pieces of the degraded mesh may migrate and damage local tissues and organs. This may lead to internal bleeding, infection, emergency surgery, and other complications.
Other Medical Device Defects
We’ve mostly talked about implantable devices or those used in surgery, but these aren’t the only kinds of health aids that can harm you. Defective external devices may also lead to injuries. If you’ve been hurt while using any of the following items, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer for a review of your case:
- Mobility aids. Wheelchairs, crutches, canes, scooters designed for people with leg injuries, and other devices intended to help you get around may sometimes cause you more trouble getting around if they cause further injury. For example, if a wheelchair fails to “lock” when you want to stay in place, you might roll downhill unintentionally, especially if you’re ill and unable to control the wheelchair yourself. A crutch or cane that unexpectedly breaks when you put weight on it could leave you on the floor with another broken bone. If you’ve experienced an injury while using any kind of mobility aid, you may have a claim for your damages.
- Devices used by healthcare staff. A defective stethoscope could prevent your healthcare provider from diagnosing a heart murmur or other issue that needs treatment. Surgical instruments, tests, or other diagnostic devices can all lead to harm when they malfunction.
- Dialysis machines attempt to take over the function of your kidneys – essentially they’re serving to replace a vital organ. If the machine doesn’t clean your blood appropriately, you could become seriously ill.
Three Types of Defective Medical Devices
There are three leading causes of harm in defective device cases:
- A problem with the device itself. This could be a design flaw, meaning that every individual device of the model is affected. It can also be a problem limited to specific batches, such as a manufacturing error that caused some devices to be broken or contaminated, although most of the line is unaffected.
- Difficulty in usage. Sometimes this means that the item is designed in a way that makes it hard for even trained medical staff to utilize. In other cases, the manufacturer may give unclear instructions or fail to warn the end user about potential interactions or difficulties. For example, the manufacturer may neglect to tell you that certain activities could render the device inactive or prevent it from working properly.
- Clinical mistakes. In certain situations, the device manufacturer may give the proper warnings, but the healthcare provider may fail to identify that a patient’s condition precludes the use of the device. For instance, they may do a poor job of looking over your medical history and miss something that indicates the device is contraindicated for your situation.
Auger & Auger Defective Medical Device Lawyers in Charleston
If you or a loved one has undergone one of these surgeries and suffered injuries and loss, it is necessary to demonstrate that the medical device was used as it was intended to be by the manufacturer. With surgically implanted devices like hernia mesh or IVC blood clot filters, the patient typically has little control over how the device is used – your doctor places the device, and you assume it’s working. It is possible that your doctor made an error in placing the device, and you may have a claim for medical malpractice in that situation. However, in most of these cases, we find the device was placed and used correctly, and the issue is with the device itself.
You must also show that harm was caused by this use, and that damages were suffered for which you deserve financial compensation. This usually involves going over your medical records, taking testimony from medical experts, and working to show how the device was responsible for the injuries or heath issues you suffered. Your damages may include medical bills for further treatment, other expenses related to your injuries, lost income if you were unable to work for some time, your pain and suffering, and loss of companionship and consortium if a loved one died due to the device.
The right legal advocate in your corner is a must to avoid insurer quests for denial of claims. Our Charleston defective medical device attorney is always ready to fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve. Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers’ services are contingency-based because we don’t want to burden you with trying to pay for legal fees in the middle of an already stressful situation.
Call (843) 751-4690 today for your free consultation, with no fees due until recovery!