Medical devices for pain are intended to help patients regain enjoyment in life. Unfortunately, defective medical devices have been responsible for significant injuries and deaths. Doctors have prescripted spinal-cord stimulators as a way to help patients suffering from severe pain. In a $400 billion medical device industry, many medical device companies push to release devices that have not been fully vetted. Some doctors aggressively push spinal-cord stimulators on patients who are at-risk or who are struggling with opioid addiction. Other doctors prescribe spinal-cord stimulators for elderly patients who need chronic pain relief.
What Do Spinal Cord Stimulators Do?
Spinal cord stimulators are relatively new devices that use electrical currents to stop pain signals from reaching the patient’s brain. These devices may seem innocuous, but they cause a significant number of injuries every year. Spinal cord stimulators have become some of the most popular medical devices in the United States. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that over 80,000 deaths have been linked to spinal cord stimulators since 2008. Spinal cord stimulators are responsible for the third-highest number of medical device injuries.
Injuries Caused by Spinal Cord Stimulators
One patient in South Carolina sought help from a pain management doctor after years of pain from an old injury in his arm. The doctor stated that by using a spinal-cord stimulator, he would be able to make the patient as “good as new.” After the doctor surgically implanted the spinal cord stimulator, the device began shocking him. He underwent surgery to repair the device, but it continued to shock him, resulting in him falling down a flight of stairs and not sleeping. Now, he is 45 years old and essentially paralyzed and bed-ridden except for barely being able to go to the restroom.
Other patients have filed reports with the FDA, claiming that they have suffered spinal-cord nerve damage, been shocked, or burned due to spinal cord stimulators. These injuries can cause paraplegia to muscle weakness. The FDA tracks thousands of devices, and only insulin pumps and metal hip replacements have been the subject of more injury reports. The AP conducted a year-long investigation with other media partners that uncovered that over 1.7 million injuries had been reported in spinal cord stimulators in the last 10 years.
Medical Device Manufacturers Claim Spinal Cord Stimulators are Safe
Despite all of the claims of injuries and death reported to the FDA and linked to spinal cord stimulators, medical device manufacturers continue to claim that they are perfectly safe. Every year, over 60,000 patients receive spinal cord implants in an attempt to decrease their pain. The FDA has stated that they are trying to create a more “robust medical device safety net for patients through better data.” Unfortunately, when a new type of device has been released to the public, the extent of dangers associated with the medical device will not be fully known until patients begin reporting the difficulties. On top of this, the top four manufacturers of spinal-cord stimulators have spent over $22 million to influence legislation since 2017.
Filing a Lawsuit Due to Your Spinal Cord Stimulator Injuries
Victims of spinal cord stimulator injuries have begun filing lawsuits across the country. Some victims claim that they have suffered permanent leg paralysis, total paralysis, extreme pain, and other types of injuries. Your case will depend on your unique injuries. In many cases, plaintiffs can argue that the product manufacturer created a defective product that they knew or should have known created an unreasonable risk of injury.
In other cases, plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits may claim that doctors failed to properly test the spinal cord stimulator in the trial period before inserting a permanent system. Or, doctors may have failed to reasonably investigate the cause of their patient’s pain. There could have been other, non-invasive procedures that a doctor should have recommended. The plaintiffs can also bring lawsuits against the surgeon who inserted the device if he or she negligently inserted the device.
Contact an Experienced Medical Device Lawyer Today
Every spinal cord stimulator lawsuit is unique. If you have suffered an injury from a spinal cord stimulator, the best thing you can do is speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact Heninger Garrison Davis as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.