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Patients Unprotected After Supreme Court Ruling

Posted on in Defective Medical Devices

It's not just the people using defective medical devices that suffer from them, according to the Huffington Post. “Faulty medical devices are costing taxpayers billions of dollars that should be paid by the manufacturer,” the HuffPost reports, because of a Supreme Court decision that grants immunity to the manufacturer of a faulty device. The first bombshell case like this to ricochet through the medical community was the one involving Medtronic's Sprint Fidelis defibrillator lead, a wire that connecting the defibrillator to the heart and which faced fire in 2007 for causing electrical shocks to reverberate through the body of the user. It was in 2008 that the Supreme Court decided, in Riegel v. Medtronic, that “FDA-approved medical devices have complete immunity from product liability cases, even in instances when the devices have proven to be unsafe or defective,” according to the HuffPost.

This, of course, somewhat undermines the authority of the Food and Drug Administration, by not holding their approval up in court as the “end-all” decision on medical devices and medicines to prescribe to Americans. Yet more than undermining the authority of a federal agency, the 2008 ruling leaves patients who have suffered because of faulty medical devices unprotected. The most important first step if you feel as if you've been the victim of a defective medical device is to contact an experienced attorney right away.

To combat patients being taken advantage of, however, in 2009 the Medical Device Safety Act was proposed “to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to liability under State and local requirements respecting devices.” The bill was never passed. The fact that Congress proposed such a law does validate the truth that many patients are left vulnerable to faulty medical devices without recourse, but because it was not passed did not solve the problem.

If you or someone you know has been affected by a defective medical device, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a dedicated Illinois attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tagged in: Defective device Fda
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