The use of medical devices has become relatively common and is used most regularly for hip joint or knee replacements, heart monitoring devices, cosmetic implants and surgical mesh. Medical devices are generally tested rigorously prior to use in surgery to ensure their effectiveness and safety. Unfortunately, sometimes the medical devices used fall below an acceptable standard and cause complications for patients. This has become more evident in recent years, particularly in light of the recent scandals in relation to defective surgical mesh and PIP breast implants.
Metal-On-Metal Hip Replacement Claims – These devices have been shown to fail much earlier than expected and may cause injury* due to metal particles released as the implants wear over time. This can have serious consequences, including the need for additional surgery in some cases.
Knee Replacement Claims – Claims are often made due to issues occurring as a result of the way the knee replacement was fitted, the product being defective, further injury being caused as a result of the product being fitted incorrectly and knee replacement complications leading to further surgery
Faulty Defibrillator Claims – The device failing can either result in unnecessary shocks, causing discomfort to the person wearing it, or the failure to provide a lifesaving shock if irregular heart rhythm develops.
Cochlear Implant Claims – Defective cochlear implants can cause painful sounds and the distress of having more surgery to get the implant replaced. There is no simple fix to a faulty cochlear implant – and in some cases, these problems are the responsibility of the implant manufacturer.
Sorin Stochert 3T Heater – Cooler Claims – Sorin Stockert 3T Heater-Coolers are used to keep patients at the right temperature during heart surgery and other complex surgical procedures. It is believed that some of these devices have become contaminated with Mycobacterium chimaera, and that the devices are passing bacterial infections on to patients. The bacterium is very resistant to antibiotics and additional surgery may also be required to replace implants if they have been infected.
Faulty Pacemaker Claims – Pacemaker’s are a very useful device to help people with heart problems regulate their heart beat. While most pacemakers work effectively, a manufacturing fault has been identified in some of the devices which means they do not operate effectively. It is likely that such issues would be the responsibility of the manufacturer.
Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP) – PIP implants are silicone breast implants that contain a defective silicone gel. Approximately 47,000 women across the UK had PIP implants fitted and many have been experiencing complications. While use of PIP implants has now been banned, many women have been living with the implants and are fearful that they might rupture resulting in serious health problems.
Surgical Mesh Implants – These implants have been used to treat women suffering from Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Stress Urinary Incontinence. The use of surgical mesh has been under intense scrutiny in recent years as hundreds of women have reported serious complications and have made claims for compensation against the manufacturer and the NHS.
The list of potential defective medical devices is endless. Given the serious consequences of being treated with a defective medical device it is vital that manufacturers and healthcare providers ensure that products are absolutely safe before using them on patients. If they fail to do this and a patient suffers loss and damage then they can make a claim for compensation. Our product liability and medical negligence solicitors will advise you on the most appropriate course of action. This may involve suing the product manufacturer for creating a defective product or the healthcare provider for failing to fit the device correctly or failing to adequately warn the patient of the potential risks associated with the device. In some cases it will be necessary to sue both the manufacturer and the healthcare provider as fault may lie with both.
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*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.