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Schaumburg Defective Medical Device AttorneyModern medical technology has accomplished some amazing things, and it has helped patients address many serious diseases and health conditions while improving people’s quality of life. Unfortunately, not every advancement has been beneficial, and there are some cases where treatments or devices used by medical professionals have caused harm to patients without adequately addressing their medical conditions. Defective hip replacements are one type of device that has resulted in injuries for a large number of patients. Those who have had hip replacement surgery should be sure to understand the potential risks they may face, and know that an attorney can help these patients determine their legal options.

Problems With Degrading Hip Implants

Hip replacements may be beneficial for patients who have experienced deterioration of bones or cartilage in the hip joints, injuries such as broken bones, or inflammation of tissue. Ideally, a hip replacement will provide a patient with increased mobility while reducing the pain and stiffness they experience.

As with any foreign objects that are implanted into the body, hip implants can degrade over time. The friction between the ball and socket of an artificial hip joint may cause particles to break off and affect the tissues surrounding the joint. This is a major concern for implants that use metal on metal components. When these components rub together, filings or small pieces of metal can be released, and they may enter the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body.

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Arlington Heights defective medical device attorneysMedical technology is constantly improving, and new devices and techniques are regularly made available to help address patients’ conditions and improve their health. Unfortunately, there are many cases where new products are found to be unsafe after being made available for public use, and defective medical devices can cause serious injuries to patients. Those who have been injured by these devices will want to work with a personal injury attorney who can help them determine their options for pursuing compensation from a product’s manufacturer or others who were responsible for their damages.

Medical Device Recalls and Patient Injuries

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regularly reviews and investigates the medical devices that are used by doctors and hospitals throughout the United States. If the FDA uncovers problems with medical devices that may present a danger to patients, a device’s manufacturer may be required to perform a recall, which may include removing devices from the market or performing repairs to address issues that affect patient safety. Some medical devices that have been subject to recalls in recent years include:

  • Hip replacements - Artificial hip joints may be made of metal and other materials, but those that have metal-on-metal components have a high failure rate. Corrosion and wearing of these components can release toxic substances into a patient’s body, leading to infections, damage to muscles, nerves, and bones, and other complications.
  • Transvaginal mesh - These implants have been used to address issues such as incontinence or injuries to pelvic organs. In some cases, mesh implants can deteriorate and break down, leading to sharp fragments that can perforate tissues and organs, resulting in internal bleeding and infections.
  • IVC blood filters - Small metal filters may be inserted into major blood vessels to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs, brain, or heart. These filters may break apart, and metal pieces may travel through the bloodstream and perforate organs, leading to hemorrhaging and organ damage.
  • Surgical warming blankets - During surgery, blankets that are heated by warm air may be used to stabilize a patient’s temperature. However, the circulation of air through these blankets may allow for the spread of germs, leading to serious infections.

Contact Our Rolling Meadows Product Liability Lawyers

While medical devices are meant to improve patients’ health, they can cause long-lasting or permanent injuries if they do not function properly. The attorneys of Newland & Newland, LLP can help you determine your options if you were injured by a defective medical device, and we will fight to ensure that you are fully compensated for the damages you have suffered. Contact our Palatine defective product attorneys at 847-797-8000 to set up a free consultation today.

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Sometimes a medical device meant to provide relief for patients suffering and expedite healing causes more pain than relief. One of these devices is known as a pain pump, most commonly used in patients recovering from shoulder surgery after a serious shoulder injury. According to the New York Times, these devices became popular in the late 1990s because they allowed patients to leave the hospital earlier while they received narcotic painkillers for recovery through the pump. While the pain pumps had received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the FDA had never cleared the devices for use in joints.

It was not long until several young patients returned to their surgeons suffering from chondrolysis, a rare ailment in which the cartilage dies, precipitating the painful condition of a bone grinding on an adjacent bone. One orthopedic surgeon told the Times that he had lost many hours of sleep trying to figure out what was causing the chondrolysis before several medical studies identified pain pumps as a likely culprit.

Throughout 2010 and 2011, hundreds of lawsuits were filed against the manufacturer of one widely implemented pain pump, I-Flow Corporation. The company was ordered to pay millions of dollars in settlements to patients who had experienced negative side effects, many who had to have shoulder joints entirely replaced. The FDA issued a warning discouraging the use of pain pumps in joints, and required manufacturers of anesthetics to change labels, encouraging doctors not to use such anesthetics through pain pumps.

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Surgical mesh was developed in the mid-20th century as a way to treat hernias. The implant was originally intended to be placed beneath the skin to patch the hole in the abdomen and block intestines and other tissues from protruding, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It can be made from either biological or synthetic materials. Recently, manufacturers of surgical mesh began marketing it as a means to prevent organ prolapse into the vaginas of women. It can be implanted after a hysterectomy or as a separate procedure. Women often experience a weakening of pelvic muscles after pregnancy and childbirth, which can lead to organ prolapse. About one-third of surgeries performed to prevent organ prolapse in women in 2010 used transvaginal mesh as a means to prevent further prolapse.

It may seem a wonder procedure, but the procedure of implantation and the implant itself can have so many negative side effects it may not be the best cure. According to a Bloomberg wire article published in The Daily Record, one manufacturer, Endo Health Solutions Inc., was ordered earlier this year to pay $830 million in damages to resolve lawsuits brought against it by women who had undergone a transvaginal mesh implant procedure. Women allege that the implant “failed to support internal organs and caused incontinence,” according to The Daily Record.

This September a federal jury in the West Virginia court ordered Johnson & Johnson, one manufacturer of defective transvaginal mesh devices, to pay one woman $3.27 million in damages for permanent injuries she sustained after having one of Johnson & Johnson's transvaginal mesh devices implanted. This is not the first verdict brought against the medical device manufacturing giant: earlier this year, a Texas state jury ruled in favor of a transvaginal mesh suit defendant. She was awarded $1.2 million for alleged damages caused by the TV-O sling manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, according to an article published by Bloomberg wire service. Before the Texas verdict, an even larger settlement was reached in New Jersey, when a Jersey jury awarded more than $11 million to a woman who underwent 18 surgeries in an attempt to fix complications from a Gynecare Prolift device.

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When complicated medical technology hits the market and is adopted by medical professionals, issues with associated surgeries are bound to occur. There are several reasons for this, and difficulties with the manufacturing of the product itself are not the only ones. By some reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not always fully vet products before they are released to the public. Hence, many devices end up recalled. According to The Wall Street Journal, the number of recalled devices continues to increase each year, and have in fact increased by almost 50 percent between 2003 and 2012.

Manufacturer recalls, not mandated by the FDA, often come too late to those who have already used the recalled device. One such example occurred in 2007 via the Metronic recall of defibrillator wires. These wires had been implanted in more than a quarter-million patients before the recall was issued, and thus resulted in a handful of patient deaths. However, Wanda Moebius, a senior vice president at the industry trade group AdvaMed, told The Wall Street Journal that medical device companies are taking a more patient-centric and cautious approach to FDA reporting.

Steve Silverman, director of the FDA medical device center's office of compliance also noted to The Wall Street Journal that the number of recalled products lags behind the number of medical devices that hit the market during the same time period. “The FDA said the numbers of medical devices increased by about 25 percent from 2008 to 2012.” While this may be true, many critics of the increased number of recalls claim how a more rigorous or thorough review of products could help to decrease the number of annual product recalls, as well as the dangers associated with them.

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