Medical Products Liability
Millions of Americans rely on high-tech medical devices and prescription drugs to improve their health and quality of life. Unfortunately, many of these products are not safe for their intended use or are used improperly by medical professionals. Every year, thousands of Americans are injured or killed after being treated with the medicines and medical devices. Often, the injuries are more debilitating than the condition that brought them to the doctor in the first place. When this happens, patients and their families have a right to learn who was responsible for the harm they suffered, hold them accountable for their actions, and recover damages to help the family through this difficult time.
Defective Medical Devices
Medical devices are designed to assist health care professionals in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of many medical conditions. Unfortunately, sometimes these devices fail in their intended use. A defective medical device can cause significant harm or even death. Patients may need to undergo additional surgeries or suffer life-threatening complications or infections. The result of all this turmoil over what should have been a simple medical procedure could lead to severe emotional distress and economic hardship for victims and their families. Our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers have experience helping victims see justice served and obtain compensation after being harmed by the following items:
- Defective diagnostic equipment
- Defibrillator wires
- Devices designed to assist in weight loss
- Heart stents
- Hip replacements
- Implantable contraceptive and intrauterine devices
- Power morcellators
- Silicone implants
- Surgical mesh, including bladder slings and transvaginal mesh
Most Americans assume that implants and other high-risk devices have been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness before going on the market. Sadly, manufacturers often need to do little more than file the appropriate paperwork and pay a relatively small fee to get the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin selling their product. In most cases, the only testing being performed is in the bodies of unsuspecting patients.
The FDA reported 49 medical device recalls in 2019 alone. These recalls are a matter of public record. Remember that doctors and hospitals may not want to admit that they used faulty devices, and victims should research any medical devices they know were used to provide for their care. Additionally, medical implants were not required to carry a unique identification code until 2007. The Unique Device Identifier (UDI) can be used to track these components; however, we need to investigate further if a device was manufactured or implanted before 2007. Other recalled items include the following devices:
- Glucose monitoring systems
- Vial spikes
- Fluid transfer systems
The pharmaceutical industry is a multi-billion-dollar business that is constantly growing. Every year, an average of 24 new drugs hit the market, including many that pose significant health risks and potential for long-term side effects. Some of these drugs include the following agents:
- Acne medications
- Antidepressants and mood-stabilizing drugs
- Blood thinners
- Cholesterol lowering drugs
- Dialysis treatments
- Hair loss pills
- Hormone replacement therapies
- Oral contraceptives
- Osteoporosis treatment drugs
- Pain medications
- Type II diabetes drugs
- Weight loss pills
According to the FDA, more than two million serious adverse drug reactions are reported every year. The causes of these drug mishaps vary widely, but these issues may be the result of a doctor prescribing the wrong drug, a mistake made by the pharmacist or by a patient who was not given proper instructions on how to take the medication.
In some cases, the drug itself is defective. Profit-driven drug companies eager to get a new drug on the market frequently look for ways to get around the FDA’s stringent regulations. Too often, investigations find flawed or dishonest clinical trials, or gaps in reporting of negative side effects long after the patients have been seriously injured, permanently disabled, or even killed. The drug manufacturer’s reckless and negligent actions are almost forgotten, and victims do not see these stories in the news.
Filing a Defective Medical Device or Dangerous Drug Lawsuit
The complications associated with defective medical devices and dangerous drugs can be severe, life-altering, and in some cases, fatal. Fortunately, the law provides victims and their families with a method for recovering some or all of the costs associated with the injury. The total amount of compensation can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the case, but typically includes the following:
- Money for medical expenses and the cost of future care
- Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- In certain extreme cases involving a manufacturer’s gross neglect or willful disregard for safety standards, juries will award punitive damages designed to punish the responsible party and deter them from similar behavior in the future
- If the case involves a wrongful death, the family of the victim may also be entitled to compensation
Situations to Avoid
When a medical injury occurs, victims have every right to be upset. Try to avoid situations that get patients into trouble. Victims deserve to be compensated if a medical device caused their injury or killed someone they loved. Try to follow these guidelines:
- Do not talk to a lawyer representing the hospital or doctor. They may want to settle quickly or take a statement when our lawyers are not present. Do not say anything that could somehow invalidate a claim. Forward all communications to our office for review.
- Do not complain to the hospital. Victims may be on a recorded line where they will say something that the hospital might use against them.
- Do not call about the medical bills. The hospital will likely send bills for a procedure that injured or killed someone the patient. However, patients should not file any complaints on their own. Anything they say to a customer service agent could be used against them during a medical malpractice
Statute of Limitations
Generally, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim in Maryland is three years from the time the patient discovers the injury. Though some exceptions do exist, it is always best to consult a qualified medical malpractice lawyer about filing a claim as soon as a problem is suspected. Maryland also carries a statute of limitations of three years for all wrongful death cases. This means family members of victims have three years from the date of death to file a claim. Work with us right away to ensure there are no delays in the case.
Filing a Products Liability or Medical Malpractice Claim
Whenever a patient’s injuries are caused by a defective medical device or dangerous drug, there is the potential for both a medical malpractice and a products liability claim. Both medical providers and the makers of medical devices and drugs have a duty to adhere to a reasonable standard of care, which includes providing adequate warning about the potential dangers of using their products.
Many times, the manufacturers of these products can fulfill their obligation by informing the doctor, nurse, or other medical professionals about the potential hazards of using the product. Then, it is the duty of the medical professional to pass this information on to the patient. These types of cases can be extremely complex and require a personal injury lawyer with an in-depth knowledge of medical liability laws and extensive experience handling both types of claims.
We will show the following:
- The medical device was defective or recalled
- The device’s manufacturer did not alert doctors and/or hospitals of the potential dangers of the device
- The device was not tested properly
- The doctor or hospital did not properly warn the patient of the dangers of using these devices
- The patient had no opportunity to give informed consent when the procedure was planned
- The hospital or doctor may not have installed the device or used it properly
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Those Harmed by Defective Medical Devices and Dangerous Drugs
If you suspect that you or a loved one was injured by a defective medical device or dangerous drug, the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton can help. We will hold the negligent party accountable for their actions and obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve. Call 800-547-4LAW (4529) today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.