Technological advancements in medical science have delivered hundreds of new medical devices in recent years. When they are necessary for ailing patients, health care providers and patients rely on the judgment, honesty, and skill of medical device manufactures to offer safe products. However, not all of these medical devices have been tested, and many have proved defective, injuring thousands of patients who trusted the companies who marketed the so-called safe products.
Because many of the medical devices on the market may be inadequately tested and rushed to the consumer to make a profit, victims and attorneys have filed many claims against the responsible companies. When manufactures are negligent and injure patients with defective medical devices, litigation is often necessary to restore the financial and human loss that is endured.
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for making sure that medical devices are adequately tested, device recalls have become increasingly common. Device manufacturers are often slow to respond to consumer complaints and must be held responsible for injuries caused.
Joe Lyon is a highly rated Ohio medical device lawyer who has successfully represented individuals throughout the United States in complex product liability litigation. The Lyon Firm works with medical specialists, metallurgists, and engineers to determine the root cause of a medical device failure.
• Atrium C-Qur Mesh
• Bard Composix Kugel Mesh
• Bard IVC Filters
• Breast Implants
• Covidien Parietex Hernia Mesh
• CareFusion AVEA Ventilators
• Depuy ASR Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant
• Depuy Pinnance Hip Implant
• Essure Birth Control System
• Ethicon Physiomesh
• Ethicon Proceed Ventral Patch
• Infuse Bone Grafts
• LivaNova Heater-Coolers
• Stryker ABG Hip Implant
• Stryker Accolade Hip Replacement
• Stryker Citation Hip Replacements
• Stryker Meridian Hip Replacements
• Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Implant
• Stryker Shoulder Implants
• Smith & Nephew Birmingham Implants
• Smith & Nephew Tandem Bipolar Hip System
• Zimmer Next Gen Knee Implant
• Zimmer Biomet Shoulder Systems
The FDA recognizes thousands of adverse event reports associated with medical devices each year. Some patients may face greater risks of complications than others, though device implants almost always carry some level of health risk. Some of the most common injuries and complications of defective medical devices include the following:
• Severe Infection
• Revision Surgery
• Chronic Pain
• Bone Fractures
• Allergic reactions
• Nerve Damage
• Formation of cysts or pseudo-tumors
• Perforation of organs
• Device Migration
• Erosion of material
• Wrongful Death
Defective Medical Device: Zirconium Hip Fracture and Failure. The Lyon Firm litigated and settled a case for a local Cincinnati man who suffered a catastrophic hip replacement failure due to a defective manufacturing process. The manufacturing process affected the physical integrity of the hip. Specifically, the ceramic part of the implant more fragile following a change in the heating process, and the femoral head (“ball portion”) of the hip shattered when the patient was simply exiting the shower. The case was resolved at mediation for a confidential amount.
In Re: Sprint Fidelis Leads: (Nationwide Consolidation in U.S District Court, Minnesota) Medtronic entered into a global settlement that provided $268 million to plaintiffs who suffered injuries arising from the 2007 global recall of the “Sprint Fidelis” leads. The recall and claims were focused on reports that the leads were unsafe and prone to fracturing after being implanted in the patient. The settlement came three years after Medtronic halted distribution of the devices, known as leads, to the market. The defective devices may be linked to 13 deaths, according to the independent physician panel monitoring the matter for Medtronic.
There are two ways in which the FDA can approve a medical device for marketing and sale in the United States. The less rigorous process is the 510K process. The 510K process essentially allows medical devices to obtain FDA approval without submitting safety and efficacy testing data. Companies prefer the 510K process to avoid delay in sales, as well as to avoid the cost to perform safety and efficacy studies.
Consequently, the 510K process allows a company to introduce a new medical device if the device is a “substantial equivalent” to another device that previously went through the more rigorous Pre-Market Approval process discussed below. Medical devices that were approved via the 510K process are not FDA approved in the traditional sense, and it may be an important distinction in certain cases. Importantly, there is no immunity or preemption for medical products that go through the 510K process.
The pre-market approval process requires a medical device company to submit safety and efficacy data on the propose device in the traditional sense. It is a rigorous and expensive process. Typically, PMA products include innovative and first of kind medical device products that are cutting edge technology. In return, these products are immune from lawsuits in most cases.
The question of preemption is one of the most technical questions in product liability law and should be directed to a well-qualified federal medical device attorney. There are some developing exceptions to the general rule on preemption in PMA products, but, unfortunately, absent Congressional action, the vast majority of cases where the product was PMA approved are preempted, and there is no viable cause of action.
We strongly encourage patients with preempted medical device cases to write to Congress in an effort to change this draconian law.
Most personal injury cases are not appropriate for class action treatment because there are too many case specific facts that come into play when dealing with the human body. The different issues make broad class certification inappropriate. However, there is often consolidation in medical device litigation for the purposes of discovery. This is done in both State and Federal Courts around the country, and it can benefit the parties in preserving costs and ensuring consistent rulings.
The federal system for consolidation for per-trial discovery is the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation. In the event a case is consolidated and multidistrict litigation (MDL) is established, all federal cases in the country will be centralized before one federal Judge. This procedural mechanism allows plaintiff attorneys to file cases and represent plaintiffs from across the county in an efficient manner. While certain rulings will impact the entire MDL, each case remains a separate lawsuit and retains control over accepting or opting out of any proposed settlement. In sum, medical device litigation is similar to a class action which benefit the plaintiff and the system as a whole in terms of efficiency and consistency, which are goals of class action, but the cases remain individual actions with the client retaining more control than in a class action. In a sense, multidistrict litigation is a blended system and when managed appropriately it can offer the best of both worlds. However, the large number of cases involved in an MDL can delay the process.
Defective Medical device litigation involves complex questions of science and facts. Often there is coordination amongst counsel around the country to help build the liability case in the most efficient and thorough manner. The evidence necessary to prove a medical device involves:
Joe Lyon is a highly rated Ohio medical device lawyer who has successfully represented individuals throughout the United States in complex medical device litigation. These cases are generally filed in Federal Court, though State Court options may be available in certain cases.
The Lyon Firm works with design engineers, metallurgists, and biomechanical engineers, and medical professionals to determine the root cause of a medical device failure. If you or a family member have been injured by a defective medical device and need an Ohio medical device lawyer, call our offices today for a free consultation at (800) 513-2403 to learn more about your legal rights