Spotlight on Defective Medical Devices and Their Complications

Thanks to modern medicine, people are living longer, healthier lives. Advancements in  medical devices can improve quality of life as well as wellness. But, unfortunately, some medical devices  are defective in design or manufacture. Defective medical devices can cause serious, sometimes permanent, health complications for patients. And in some cases, the complications may be worse than the original medical problem.

Types of defective medical devices

Any type of medical device—from blood glucose meters to pacemakers—has the potential to carry defects. Some of the most serious complications occur from implanted medical devices, such as the following:

  • Joint implants: Hip and knee implants are among the most common ones used. Some of them are known to be defective and have been subject to recalls. Stryker, Zimmer, Biomet, Stryker, and Smith & Nephew are some of the joint implant manufacturers that have issued recalls because of defects or other issues.
  • Surgical mesh: Surgical mesh products are typically implanted to provide additional support to an area. They’re often used for patients with hernias or urinary incontinence. Just like joint implants, however, some of these products have been recalled.
  • IVC filters: The inferior vena cava is the largest vein in the body. IVC filters are small devices placed in this vein for the purpose of catching blood clots. However, the filters have been known to break and cause serious complications.

Causes of defects in medical devices

There are many possible causes of defects in medical devices. For legal purposes, defects are generally classified into two main groups: Defects in design and defects in manufacture. A defect in design means that the device is inherently flawed. For example, the material it’s made from might not be strong enough to do the job. A defect in manufacture means that the device was likely made improperly.

For example, metal-on-metal hip implants are alleged to be defective in design because, as the metal components rub together, they release metallic fragments into the bloodstream. In some cases, medical device companies failed to perform needed safety tests, which would have identified these flaws before consumers suffered harm from them.

Complications of defective medical devices

The health complications that can occur from defective medical devices depend on the specific device. Health complications can also vary from patient to patient. Examples of medical device complications can include the following:

  • Severe, prolonged pain
  • Hemorrhage
  • Infections
  • Sepsis
  • Organ or bowel perforation
  • Intestinal blockages
  • Blood clots
  • Death

Additionally, it’s not uncommon for patients with defective medical devices to require revision surgery to remove the original implant and replace it.

What to do if you’ve been injured

If you suspect you’ve developed complications from a defective medical device, the first thing you should do is see your doctor. Receive treatment and establish a record of the problem. Next, contact an experienced defective medical device attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.

Our firm represents plaintiffs from across the country and our attorneys have recovered over $1 billion during their legal careers. We never charge a fee unless we recover compensation for you. Request your case review today.

Additional resources on defective medical devices:

  1. S. Food & Drug Administration, List of Device Recalls, 
  2. S. Food & Drug Administration, Recalls, Corrections and Removals (Devices),