Medical Devices and Implants to Keep an Eye On
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Raymond Hatcher with Sloan Firm.
Medical devices and implants are one of the most common types of defective products seen in product liability cases. In fact, within this category of products, certain devices and implants have proven to be more problematic than others. The consequences of a defective or otherwise dangerous device/implant can be serious, resulting in new or worsened conditions, injuries, and in some cases even death.
If your doctor recommends a medical device or implant for your health, don’t be afraid to ask questions and research the product first. If you have received a medical device or implant you suspect might be defective, talk to your doctor and check for any active recalls which could pertain to the product. Even if it has not been recalled, you could be eligible to file a product liability claim to seek compensation for damages including medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Medical devices and implants to keep an eye on for risk of defect include but are not limited to:
- Pacemakers: Whenever an implant or medical device involves some kind of circuitry or electrical power, it’s possible that a defect could exist. When defects occur in pacemakers, the consequences can be serious, as patients rely on these to keep their hearts working. Signs of a potentially defective pacemaker include dizziness, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, hard palpitations, irregular heart rate, twitching of the abdominal or chest muscles, frequent hiccups.
- Hip implants: Hip implants are notorious for carrying defects; these implants typically undergo great pressure and friction within the body, so they must be built with these and other challenges in mind. Defective hip implants can be painful, debilitating, and result in permanent damage to the patient. Signs of a potentially defective hip implant include pain and swelling after the recovery period, heat around the hip, and clicking or squeaking sounds emitting from the implant.
- Breast implants: Defective breast implants and tissue expanders can cause a variety of problems for patients. Defective breast implants may put patients at high risk for developing breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL); this isn’t a form of breast cancer, but a form of rare non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that attacks the immune system. Signs that a breast implant or tissue expander might be defective include pain, swelling, or the presence of a mass around the implants, breast, or armpits, hardening of the breasts, change in appearance of the breasts, and evidence of fluid collection near the implants.
- Hernia mesh: Mesh implants have been used as a standard hernia treatment for some time; unfortunately, many of these products have proven to be defective, and have the potential to break apart and cause internal damage. Signs of a defective hernia mesh implant typically include pain or discomfort near the site of hernia, swelling, bleeding, signs of infection, inability to use the bathroom, and hernia recurrence.
- Transvaginal mesh: Similar to hernia mesh implants, transvaginal mesh implants are known for being defective. In fact, in 2019, manufacturers were ordered to stop selling surgical mesh products marked for transvaginal repair. Traditionally used to treat conditions like Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Stress Urinary Incontinence, and Vaginal Vault Prolapse, this implant can cause serious problems. Signs of a defective transvaginal mesh implant may include pelvic or vaginal pain, mesh protruding from the body, recurring or unexplainable infections, and recurrence of the condition the mesh was implanted to treat.
- Contraceptives: Contraceptive implants and devices are relatively recent in medicine but have already presented some cause for concern. Implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) vary widely in shape and size, some of which present a higher risk for device migration, organ perforation, and internal scarring, all of which can affect fertility, not to mention the higher risk for ectopic pregnancies. Signs of a defective contraceptive device or implant may include intense cramping, pain or soreness in the lower abdomen, unusual vaginal discharge, swelling or discoloration around the site of an implant or being unable to feel the strings of the IUD as directed by your doctor.
To learn more about potentially dangerous medical devices and implants or for help investigating your case, reach out to a product liability attorney in your area.