Medical device errors are special types of medical malpractice claims in that they can be either medical malpractice or product liability. In either case, you may be able to file a claim for any damages you sustained. Call a New York medical device error lawyer from Buttafuoco & Associates for help.
Medical Device Errors Caused by Staff Negligence
An improperly used medical device can cause serious injury or death. Medical devices that require special user attention include:
- Infusion pumps for IVs
- Dialysis machines
Medical professionals must calibrate and program these machines just right. Failure to properly set or check any of these devices can lead to patient injury or death. For example, if an infusion pump is set incorrectly at a higher rate than required, a medication could infuse in a lethally high concentration.
Medical Device Errors Caused by a Defective Device
Sometimes errors are unavoidable because the device itself is defective. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handles several recalls and warning notices regarding medical devices every year. Some devices, affixed with warning labels regarding certain conditions or uses, are still in use, while the FDA may recall others completely due to the hazards they pose.
The health care facility is responsible for heeding any warnings or recalls of equipment in use with its patients. Likewise, a medical device manufacturer is liable for issuing these warnings and recalls when appropriate. If the health care facility uses devices with a known defect, your injuries fall under its liability. If a medical device manufacturer fails to issue a recall or warning promptly, your injuries fall under the manufacturer’s liability.
Some medical devices that the FDA found to be defective in the past include:
- Artificial hips and knees
- Test kits
- IVC filters
In cases of extreme public safety, the FDA will impose a ban on certain devices. To date, the FDA has only banned or proposed to ban three devices.
Identifying the Cause of the Medical Device Error
If you believe a medical device error caused your injury or the death of a loved one, time is of the essence to gather information.
For large equipment in hospitals such as ventilators and infusion pumps, try to obtain photographs of the exact machine and serial number the hospital used on you or your loved one.
If the device was in use at home, make sure you keep it intact and untampered with to serve as evidence.
You will need a medical expert to testify on behalf of a case of staff use negligence. This expert will explain how to properly use the device and identify the error the staff member made in utilizing the device. The expert can also testify regarding whether or not the patient would have avoided harm had the medical professional used the device properly.
In the case of a defective device, other types of expert witnesses may be necessary to support your claim. You may call upon engineers or safety officials to examine the equipment and its design plans to determine if it was a defective unit or a defective design.
This will also allow you to determine who exactly is liable (e.g., product designer or product manufacturer).
Collecting Damages after a Medical Device Error
The type of claim you are seeking will determine the liable parties in your medical device error lawsuit. For human errors caused by a negligent medical professional, that professional, or the employing facility might be liable. For defective devices, either the hospital or the manufacturer, and in some cases both, will be liable.
You might be entitled to damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent damage or disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
New York medical malpractice law firm Buttafuoco & Associates is here to help you collect evidence, review your rights, and make the right legal decisions to secure a fair settlement. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT or fill out our contact form to schedule a free, no obligation case review.