Tougher Oversight May be Needed to Stop the Harm from Defective Medical Devices

By September 27, 2016Dangerous Medical Devices

St. Louis Attorneys Serving Victims of Defective Medical Devices

stethoscope and a gavelDefective medical devices contribute to 3,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to a research study published by Brookings Institution. Fixing these defective devices can cost hundreds of millions of dollars – not only in repairs, but in the medical costs and losses  that the victims endure. With these costs rising and death tolls at staggering numbers, why is the government not doing more to protect the public?

There are several solutions that could be utilized to reduce deaths and the financial losses associated with these defective devices. For example, regarding the 21 deaths that occurred nationwide because of defective and unsanitary scopes: This was a preventable issue and, yet, over 21 people died because of it.

Medical experts are starting to think that medical devices should carry distinctive numbers and tags – and this information must be recorded in a patient’s health record any time the device is implanted or used on a patient. This system is already in place for medications – so why is it not in place for medical devices? Using this check system alone for medications has already assisted researchers to analyze and discover problems with medication prescribing – including dangerous over-the-counter interactions.

Why Government Oversight Has Been Delayed

Opponents of tracking and monitoring medical devices fear that creating such a system would be costly – estimated at about $50 million per year – and would be time-consuming for those monitoring the program, as well as healthcare professionals in general. While it could be a cumbersome system to deploy, some procedures require items that could carry a distinctive tag, such as hip replacements or devices used in spinal corrective surgeries. These plates, screws, and other hardware are typically tagged already – and assigned to the patient. But, doing a complete system opens the door to privacy questions, because no one knows where the information would be stored.

Other countries have already employed similar systems, such as in England, Wales, and Sweden. These countries have already highlighted some of the flaws with universal tracking, but they started their systems early. The United States is still very much behind in this technology.

Patients, physicians, and hospitals are all now part of a self-reporting, slowed system that obviously needs improvement. The government is relying on these individuals to report errors and work toward correcting them, but there is no system in place to make sure that these errors or complications are actually reported. In fact, there are several stories in the news about how manufacturers of defective medical components settle outside of court to avoid a lawsuit – depending upon these same manufacturers to self-report defects to the government is nearly unimaginable.

Will a Proposed Monitoring System Save Lives?

In the report by Brookings, the National Medical Device Postmarket Surveillance System (MDS) is designed to provide optimum patient care, while leveraging the experiences of other patients, to make sure that each person makes an informed decision about the devices safety, effectiveness, and quality. But, the system is only in the proposal phase – and it will meet serious opposition.

What You Can Do if You Are Injured by a Defective Medical Device

If you have suffered serious injury because of a defective medical device, you could qualify for compensation from the manufacturer, or even the physician who prescribed the device. To explore your options, you will need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney at Carey, Danis & Lowe Attorneys at Law. Schedule a free consultation now by calling 877-678-3400 or requesting one through our online form.