While medical devices save an untold number of lives and help treat disease,
injury, and disability, sometimes devices make it onto the market with
poor testing, design, or faulty manufacturing. Unfortunately, defective
medical devices can do the opposite of what they are intended, potentially
causing disability, serious injury, pain, and even death.
Virtually any type of medical device can be defective in design, manufacture,
or warning and marketing. The FDA lists more than 1,800 types of medical
devices such as pacemakers, x-ray machines, infusion pumps, hip and knee
replacements, heart valves, and ventilators. The following are some major
defective devices that have triggered injuries and lawsuits.
Defective Hip Replacement Devices
Hip replacements are designed to replace hip joints that are damaged or
aged, but dozens of these implants have been recalled after they were
placed in thousands of patients. One of the most well-known recalls was
the Stryker hip replacement recall in 2012. Two models of these devices
were recalled three years after they were approved by the FDA after it
was discovered that the metal implants could release debris into the patient.
Another hip replacement system called the DePuy ASR hip system was recalled
in 2010 after it was discovered that 40% of the devices failed after just
five years. Because the devices contained metal, failed implants caused
tissue damage, bone damage, inflammation, infection, reduced mobility,
pseudo-tumors, and a need to undergo risky revision surgery.
Defective IVC Filters
An IVC filter is a small device inserted into the vein of a patient at
risk of pulmonary embolism with a goal of capturing blood clots and breaking
them down before they can reach the brain, heart, and lungs. IVC filters
have likely saved lives, but they can also come out of place in the vein
and travel through the body causing significant damage and even blood
clots, the very thing they are designed to stop.
Defective Pacemakers and ICDs
Pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are meant
to monitor the hearts of patients who have suffered heart trauma and they
are effective at treating many cardiovascular conditions. Unfortunately,
these devices can also fail and lead to serious injury or death. One of
the most recent pacemaker recalls involved the popular InSync III pacemaker
by Medtronic. About 100,000 of the devices were placed in patients around
the world, but they were found to have a higher-than-expected rate of
power failure that prevented the devices from correcting the pace of the heart.
Defective Birth Control Devices
Long-term birth control devices have dramatically increased in popularity
in the United States, but sometimes these devices do not work as intended.
The Mirena IUD is one such defective medical device that has been linked
to potential complications and injuries. The T-shaped plastic device,
which is placed in the uterus to release a hormone that prevents pregnancy,
can perforate the uterine wall or cervix, move to other parts of the body
and cause pelvic inflammatory disease, or lead to infection.
Another birth control device called NuvaRing, which is a plastic ring inserted
vaginally, has also faced defective medical device lawsuits. Among many
potential risks of NuvaRing is an increased risk of blood clotting, which
can cause potentially fatal conditions like pulmonary embolism or myocardial
infarction. Its manufacturer, Merck & Co, has faced hundreds of lawsuits
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have been seriously injured by a defective medical device, you may
have the right to make a product liability claim against the manufacturer
or distributor. Contact Cannon & Dunphy for a free consultation with a
Wisconsin defective medical device lawyer to discuss your case.
Call our team. We’re here to help you!