Columbia Defective Medical Devices Lawyer
At Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers, we aren’t afraid to fight large companies on behalf of our clients — including manufacturers of defective medical devices. If you have used one as instructed and have suffered a health complication, our Columbia defective medical device attorney wants you to know that you have rights — and we are here to protect them.
You should not be put in a position of having to deal with severe side effects after seeking relief from an existing condition. Whether the device causing you additional medical problems was a Stryker or metal hip replacement, Bair Hugger warmer blanket, power morcellator, IVC blood clot filters, transvaginal or hernia mesh — you do not deserve to suffer life-altering injuries or decades of health issues.
Active Litigation for Medical Devices
Medical devices are a growing industry. In fact, this category of products is projected to reach $745 billion by 2030. Medical devices sold in the US must receive FDA approval before launch, which requires that the manufacturer demonstrate the device is “reasonably safe and effective” for the condition it’s supposed to treat. Depending on the class of the device, there may be higher or lower requirements for proving reasonable safety and efficacy. However, these requirements don’t always catch every potentially harmful device.
Our Columbia medical device attorney division is actively fighting for patients who have suffered complications related to hernia mesh and IVC blood clot filters. Throughout the Carolinas, we are representing clients who have been injured by a hernia mesh implant. This is a device intended to support healing tissues but has been known to decompose, causing pieces to travel through the body and resulting in serious physical problems.
Auger & Auger also accepts clients who have experienced complications due to Stryker hip replacements. When one of these replacements fails, the patient is left with the option to receive a metal hip replacement during repair surgery, which may lead to immobility. In some instances, patients have had to endure multiple repair surgeries because of these defective medical devices.
Stryker Hip Replacement Problems
Hip replacements are intended to replace a hip socket worn down by arthritis or another disease. Most hip implants last 10-20 years before they require a new replacement. Unfortunately, three models of the Stryker brand implants have been recalled – Rejuvenate, ABG II, and LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 femoral heads – due to the devices loosening or breaking down prematurely, or releasing toxic metal ions into the bloodstream.
Potential complications caused by these devices include:
- Loosening. A loosened artificial joint can cause intense pain, and sometimes the only solution for the patient is more surgery.
- Infection. Joint infections can be severe and, in some cases, even fatal. They may also cause more permanent damage to the surrounding joint and bones, even if the infection is treated successfully.
- Dislocation. As with loosening, a dislocated artificial hip may be incredibly painful and could lead to further surgeries.
- Metallosis. This kind of metal poisoning occurs when an artificial metal joint degrades and metal ions leach into the bloodstream. Metallosis from a defective joint can cause pain in the joint itself, but it may also lead to problems with the nervous system, thyroid, kidneys, or other vital organs. Unfortunately, in some cases, these symptoms in other systems appear first, making the problem difficult to diagnose. This can delay treatment, causing more complications. Once a diagnosis is made, the only treatment option is having the defective joint replaced – another surgery with a weeks-long recovery period.
Most people with hip replacements don’t know the exact model number or brand of the artificial joint they received, but you can find out. If you’ve had a hip replacement and experienced any of the above symptoms, please contact your doctor’s office to evaluate your symptoms. While at your appointment, ask your doctor which implant you received – it should be in your medical files. Once you have this information and a diagnosis, contact a Columbia defective medical device attorney to find out if you have a case against Stryker or another hip implant manufacturer. (It’s important to note that Stryker is not the only brand that has produced defective implants, so even if your defective hip replacement wasn’t a Stryker, you might still have a case.
Hernia Mesh Leads to Complications
A hernia occurs when an internal organ or tissue protrudes through an opening in the body’s tissues, usually in the abdominal or groin region, in some cases requiring surgery to repair the protrusion. Hernias may be repaired with or without surgical mesh. In either case, adverse effects may include infection, adhesion, blockage of the intestines, perforation of neighboring organs, and bleeding. When a hernia is repaired with mesh, the most common health complaints include bowel obstruction, hernia recurrence, infection, and pain.
More severe complications have been reported amongst patients whose hernias were repaired with now-recalled mesh products. These include obstruction, infection, perforation, pain, adhesion, and recurrence. Other potential problems related to any surgical hernia mesh are mesh shrinkage and mesh migration. In many cases, the mesh breaks down and becomes entangled with nearby tissues or migrates elsewhere in the body, causing damage as it moves.
Today, most defective meshes have been recalled, but it’s worth asking what kind of mesh your surgeon uses if you’re planning a hernia operation. If you had hernia surgery in the past and have suffered complications like infection or persistent pain, please find out what kind of mesh was used in your surgery and contact a Columbia defective medical device attorney for a free consultation.
Are There Other Risks with Surgical Mesh?
Yes. Although hernia surgery is a very common use for surgical mesh, it is also utilized in other kinds of operations, such as pelvic surgeries for pelvic organ prolapse (POP), bladder sling, or urinary incontinence surgery. If you’ve had these or other operations that involved mesh and experienced complications, please speak with an attorney to learn if you might have been affected by defective mesh.
A power morcellator is a small, bladed tool typically used in uterine surgeries, such as hysterectomies and fibroid tumor removal. Fibroids are benign uterine tumors that may cause severe pain, extensive bleeding, and anemia. Often doctors will try medication and other treatments first, but if these don’t work and the fibroid is large enough, surgically removing it may be the best option.
The power morcellator breaks up uterine tissue so that it can be easily removed using tiny incisions – for this reason, it was preferred for “minimally invasive” procedures until recently.
In most cases, power morcellators are not harmful. However, if the patient has undiagnosed uterine sarcoma, a kind of cancer, the morcellator can cause cancer cells to spread throughout the pelvis. Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to be sure a patient doesn’t have uterine sarcoma before operating on a fibroid tumor. When the FDA became aware of the risks, they advised doctors to stop using the power morcellators. Ultimately, Johnson & Johnson, maker of one of the more popular power morcellators, recalled three of these device models, advising surgeons to stop using them.
If you had fibroid surgery and were later diagnosed with uterine cancer that had spread, ask your doctor if a power morcellator was used in your surgery. If so, you may have a claim against the manufacturer.
IVC Blood Clot Filters
An IVC blood clot filter is fixated in the interior vena cava, or IVC, a large blood vessel that transports blood from the lower half of the body to the heart and lungs. The idea is that the filter will catch any blood clots that may have formed in the legs (called a deep vein thrombosis) and prevent a potentially fatal condition where this transplanted clot blocks blood flow to the heart or lungs (such as a pulmonary embolism or a heart attack). IVC filters are often recommended for patients with a history of clotting issues who cannot take blood thinners for various reasons.
Unfortunately, some of these filters don’t hold up well after implantation. There are reports dating back to 2005 of IVC filters breaking down or becoming dislodged. These events may lead to organ or tissue perforation or the filter becoming lodged in a vein and creating a blockage (ironically, what it’s intended to prevent a blood clot from doing). In other situations, doctors found it difficult to remove the filter without causing more damage. Several models were recalled, but some later versions have also proved problematic.
If you have an IVC filter at the moment, please check with your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms, especially chest pain or shortness of breath. Also, inquire about when you might be able to have the device removed – they’re generally only recommended for short-term use and should be taken out once the clotting risk is reduced. Patients who experienced complications with an IVC filter should speak with a lawyer to learn their options for pursuing compensation.
Proving Negligence in Medical Device Cases
In most personal injury cases, it is necessary to prove that the other party was negligent – that they had a reasonable duty of care, that they breached this duty, and that you suffered harm. However, South Carolina has strict liability statutes for product manufacturers, and medical devices fall under product liability statutes.
What is Strict Liability?
Under strict liability, any manufacturer of a product is liable for damage done by that product, as long as the following criteria are met:
- The manufacturer or retailer sells the product in such a defective condition that it poses an unreasonable danger to the user.
- The liable party is involved in the business of selling the product.
- The product arrives at the end user in this “unreasonably dangerous” condition without any alterations that correct this condition or eliminate the danger.
Essentially, it doesn’t matter if the seller made an effort to be careful or screen their products for defects, nor does it matter if the potential injuries were “foreseeable” (another important facet of many personal injury cases). If they sold a defective product that harmed you, there’s a good chance they are liable.
If so, your Columbia defective medical device attorney will go over the details of your case and discuss how you will prove the above requirements if you want to move forward. Often this involves scrutiny of your medical records, interviewing doctors or other medical experts, presenting data on the device, covering FDA rulings or recalls, and other efforts to establish that the device was defective and caused your injuries. Your attorney may assign an investigative team to seek further evidence.
Most product liability cases settle out of court. Although your case may continue to the courtroom, we generally try to work things out with the manufacturer’s insurance carrier. We know trials are stressful and take up a lot of time, and the last thing you need after your injuries is more stress. However, we don’t advise clients to accept significantly less than they deserve. If we believe your case is worth much more than the insurance company is offering, we’ll let you know and continue to negotiate for a better deal if that’s what you decide. Ultimately, whether or not to accept a settlement is up to you.
Auger & Auger Means Business
After a medical procedure, you expect to return to a normal life. Unfortunately, you can experience serious and debilitating complications, emotional turmoil, and financial difficulties when a medical device fails. At Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers, we are here to represent you with unrivaled determination and dedication.
If you have been injured by a defective medical device, please reach out to our Columbia defective medical device attorney division. We will be your legal advocate, fighting for the just compensation to which you are entitled. With Auger & Auger you won’t pay unless we win your case, thanks to our zero-fee guarantee.
Call 828-222-764 today for your free consultation, with no fees due until recovery!