From spinal implants to artificial hips to replacement knees, sales of surgical devices have surged. Orthopedic device manufacturers have built an expanding line of expensive surgical Hardware in 2019, sales of surgical Hardware surge to $20 billion. Medical device producers train sales representatives to offer surgeons technical guidance in the operating room, a process that raises several ethical and legal questions. Thousands of medical malpractice, whistleblower, and product liability lawsuits have been filed regarding surgical hardware in the last 10 years.
Defects are Downplayed as Competition Increases
Surgical device manufacturers train a large team of sales agents. They often recruit people at college to develop relationships and work closely with surgeons. The device representatives may even be seen carrying heavy sets of surgical hardware into the operating room, even though the representative does not have any medical credentials or training. Device manufacturers play the long game, and it can take 18 months for sales reps to develop long-term relationships with surgeons.
The surgical hardware market has become highly competitive, with rival companies competing aggressively with each other. Some sales agencies have sued other agencies for poaching surgical customers. Other sales agencies offer extremely high-paying jobs to sales agents and promise them lavish bonuses for selling surgical parts. Unfortunately, the aggressive market and incentive to sell more products make it easy to look the other way regarding defective products.
Kaiser Health Network recently conducted an investigation that found that thousands of product liability and malpractice lawsuits have accused device marketers of hiding or downplaying defective surgical hardware. As a result, patients and doctors have been left in the dark about the risks associated with certain types of surgical equipment. Several companies face significant lawsuits alleging that they willfully ignored numerous complaints about device failures or logged complaints of defective product signs too late.
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The Consequences of Defective Surgical Hardware
Every year, millions of Americans become injured from defective medical devices. As more patients pursue knee replacements, hip replacements, and spinal cord surgery for degenerative discs, surgeons are more reliant on surgical hardware. In many cases, the FDA cannot keep up with the volume of medical devices being offered and the flooding of the market by aggressive sales representatives.
Many of us assume that the FDA carefully tests and reviews every surgical device before sales agents sell the devices to surgeons. However, there are ways device manufacturers can get their devices to market with little to no testing. We have also seen many allegations that manufacturers are ignoring, hiding, or downplaying complaints about safety issues with their products.
Many patients suffered devastating injuries due to defective surgical products. For example, when a surgeon inserts the wrong size disc into a patient’s spinal cord, the patient can suffer paralysis, numbness, sharp pain, and the vertebra can even become broken. In many of these cases, the injury cannot be repaired. Even when the surgeon goes back to insert the correct disk, the patient may still suffer ongoing pain and numbness. Likewise, when hip replacement hardware is defective or causes metallosis, the patient can suffer ongoing medical symptoms and issues.
Has a Defective Surgical Hardware Injured You?
If you suspect that your surgeon made an error or used a defective product, it is essential that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Medical malpractice cases are complicated, and your lawyer will need to investigate your case and gather evidence thoroughly. Proving that the product was defective can be challenging, and the more time your lawyer has to prepare, the better.
Unlike most personal injury lawsuits, lawsuits involving defective medical devices are considered product liability cases. In most cases, the physician who uses the device is not at fault when the device itself was defective unless the physician knew or had reason to know that the device was defective. Instead, the victim can bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the device. The victim can contend that the manufacturer negligently produced and sold the defective device. For example, the defendant can argue that the manufacturer knew about the defect and failed to recall the device or failed to warn surgeons and patients about the harm it might cause.
Discuss Your Case With a Product Liability Lawyer Today
If you have been injured by a surgical device, discussing your case with a lawyer is crucial. Contact the experienced product liability lawyers at Heninger Garrison Davis today to schedule your free initial consultation.