When can a patient sue a manufacturer over faulty medical devices or failure to warn of the risks of an implant?
A Texas woman has filed a lawsuit against Cook Medical in connection with a defective medical device implanted in her at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas in 2007. Her suit also accuses the company of a "failure to warn" of the risks of the implant, the Cook Gunther Vena Cava Filter. She is just the latest of a number of plaintiffs in Texas and other states who have sued over the ill-effects of such filters implanted years ago.
Cook Gunther Vena Cava Filter Created Serious Health Problems
The inferior vena cava (IVC) filters were supposed to protect patients from life-threatening blood clots that can travel to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism or other health problems. Blood-thinning drugs can often accomplish the same goal, but patients who unable to take the drugs were sometimes implanted with filters instead.
The filters created their own life-threatening problems, including blot clots. While the ill effects sometimes took time to manifest themselves, according to one study, the IVC filter caused side effects in some patients just 71 days after implantation. Trauma patients studied had a higher risk of blood clots with no greater chance of survival than those who didn't receive a filter.
Medical Device Cases Can Be Based on a Variety of Grounds
Manufacturers of harmful products can potentially be held liable for:
- Design defects that the manufacturer should have foreseen would cause problems
- Manufacturing defects that make a product unsafe
- Marketing defects, such as failure to warn of risks or failure to provide adequate instructions on the use of a device
Lawsuits involving defective medical devices must overcome a number of hurdles. Federal law bars state cases against certain medical devices, and some state laws may limit personal injury claims. But medical device manufacturers can still be held responsible, and lawsuits over faulty medical devices constitute a great deal of product liability litigation.
Other Types of Medical Devices Involved in Lawsuits
In addition to IVC filters, a variety of implants have been the subject of lawsuits. These include:
- cardiac defibrillators
- contraceptive devices
- artificial joints
Potential defendants in such cases have included the manufacturer, the testing laboratory, the medical sales representative, the retail supplier of a device and/or the doctor, hospital or clinic involved in installing the implant.
If you have suffered ill effects from a drug or medical implant, an expert in medical device litigation, product liability law and malpractice can assist you in deciding whether you have a sound claim and who should be held accountable.