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Is It Medical Malpractice if I’m Injured by a Medical Device or Tool?

March 6, 2023

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When doctors and surgeons perform treatments and operations, they rely on many different medical devices. These devices can range from simple blood pressure monitors and oxygen sensors to complex robotic surgical tools and heart-lung machines.

Any medical device can unexpectedly fail, including during procedures and surgeries. When medical devices fail during these critical moments, patients can suffer serious complications and injuries, and some may even die.

To determine if you are eligible for compensation if a medical device failed while you were receiving treatment, first you need to determine who may be liable for your injury.

Did the Doctor or Surgeon Know the Device Was Defective?

Doctors and surgeons can be held liable for medical malpractice after medical device failures if any of these conditions are met:

  • They knew the devices they were using are dangerous or defective
  • They knew the devices they were using had been recalled
  • They should have known the devices they were using are dangerous, defective, or had been recalled

Every year, medical devices are recalled by their manufacturers and/or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s up to doctors and surgeons to keep up with these recalls and to act accordingly when they occur, including discontinuing the usage of dangerous devices in their practices.

If a recall has been issued and a doctor or surgeon continues using a recalled device, and it later fails during a procedure or surgery and injures or kills a patient, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.

If the Defect Wasn’t Known, the Medical Device Manufacturer May Be Liable

Doctors and surgeons typically can’t be held liable under medical malpractice claims after device failures that weren’t publicized. However, the manufacturers of the devices can be held liable, especially if the failures are due to design or manufacturing flaws.

If the Failure Was Due to a Power Outage, the Hospital or Clinic May be at Fault

Sometimes, medical devices fail because of power outages. Many power outages occur during inclement weather, but some happen due to accidents, power station failures, rolling blackouts, overloaded grids, and more.

Hospital staff rely on electrically powered devices and machines to provide care, and patients rely on the devices to receive treatment and even to stay alive. Because of the necessity of these machines, hospitals typically have backup power generators to ensure all equipment keeps working in the event of a nearby power outage.

When hospitals don’t have backup power sources, or when their backup power sources weren’t properly maintained and don’t work during power outages, the hospital can be held liable for any injuries or deaths that occur.

The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Claim Depends on Who Is at Fault

One of the most important reasons to know who is at fault for a medical device failure during a procedure or surgery is to know how long you and your lawyer have to file a lawsuit.

That’s because the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims can range from one to four years in Ohio, while defective product claims are always two years from the date of injury. It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after an injury resulting from a defective medical device or negligent healthcare provider. This helps ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines to file before you even know if you have a valid injury claim.

We Can Gather the Facts and Hold the Negligent Party Liable for Your Injuries

If you or someone you love was harmed because a medical device failed during a procedure or surgery, it can be difficult to determine who was at fault. Your doctor or surgeon may blame the device manufacturer, but they can instead be held liable if the device was already recalled.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers know how to handle complex claims where liability isn’t easy to assess right away. We have years of experience gathering evidence and reviewing the facts of what happened to hold the right party responsible for our clients’ injuries while striving to get them maximum compensation.

Contact us today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.

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