As research and investment continues, more and more state-of-the-art medical devices become available to patients. Many different types of medical devices are available on the market, including hip and knee replacements, heart valves, corneal implants, and birth control devices. Some moderate side effects can occur when people use these devices. In other cases, it is possible for a patient to die from the use of a defective medical device. Families of these patients may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Regulation in the United States
In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves all medical devices for use.1 This is a lucrative market for medical manufacturers. In 2012, the FDA approved more than 40 new devices, and as the population of the United States increases, so does the demand for medical aid. Device recalls are also relatively common. Manufacturers may voluntarily recall a device if they identify a fault or problem with the product. Alternatively, the FDA may also issue a recall if there is evidence that the device should not be used. The FDA publishes the details of all product recalls online.2 Between Jan. 1 and March 30, 2013, there were 13 device recalls. A significant number of customers may be affected by problems with faulty devices.
Defective medical devices
A number of well-known medical devices have caused serious injury and even the death. Adverse events and patient deaths from these devices can be found online. For example, between Jan. 1, 1997 and Aug. 27, 2012, Mirena® IUD3 (a contraceptive device) was the primary cause of death in 53 people. NuvaRing®, a hormonal contraceptive device, killed 156 people.4 If a loved one dies after using a defective medical device, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Support for medical malpractice litigation
If you wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you should contact a trained attorney for support. He or she will be able to:
- Advise you on the evidence that you may need to submit, including medical reports
- Discuss the steps required to file the lawsuit and any maximum time periods that may exist
- Give advice on the settlement that you may receive, based on similar cases
- Represent you and increase your chances of success
- Provide ongoing support and advice throughout the litigation
You should not underestimate the time and attention that a wrongful death lawsuit can require. An attorney can help make the process less stressful for you.
Finding the right attorney
It is important to find the right attorney in order to improve your chances of success. Try consulting people in your personal network, such as friends, family, support groups, or business associates, for a credible recommendation.