When they are introduced to the market, medical devices are often hailed as a breakthrough that can help patients improve their health and their lives. In many instances, these devices do work for their intended purpose and bring many benefits to the patient. However, sometimes these devices can either fail or can cause some devastating complications. In fact, approximately 80,000 people have died due to medical devices since 2008. Below are some of the medical devices that have been connected to harmful side effects.
Hip replacement surgery has become more commonplace as the technology has improved. However, the composition of the actual hip replacements has caused complications. The original hip replacements were metal-on-metal. This led to numerous undesirable side effects including blood poisoning, infection and bone loss around the joint. The infections that result from this implant can be severe. Some patients have needed follow-up surgery to receive a new hip replacement because the infection has been so severe. Many of this hip replacements have been recalled by the manufacturer and are no longer used due to the damage that they have caused.
These pumps are designed to give those who suffer from type-1 diabetes continuous doses of insulin throughout the day, alleviating the need for periodic injections. The patient wears the pump on a belt connected to a port which delivers the medication. However, one of the side effects of the insulin pumps is that it can cause hypoglycemia in patients. When part of the device get wet, it can result in uneven delivery of insulin. At some point, too much insulin is delivered and that has the potential to lower the patient’s blood sugar in an excessive manner. When that happens, it can lead to severe side effects, including death. The device was recalled by the FDA in 2017 for this reason after reports of several deaths that have been linked to insulin pumps.
When patients have surgery to repair a hernia, mesh is used to cover the hole causing the hernia as opposed to sewing the hole itself. This has made hernia surgeries more routine. However, the mesh itself is made of synthetic materials that are not biological. Specifically, many hernia meshes are composed of polypropylene, which belongs to the plastics family. Many patients have reported that the mesh at the site of the surgery becomes infected. This results in extreme pain, and if the infection is severe enough, it can put a patient’s life in danger. A number of patients have needed a follow-up surgery in the case of a serious infection to remove the mesh and fix the hernia by other means.
Spinal Cord Stimulators
When some patients experience severe back pain, doctors will implant a spinal cord stimulator. This device is supposed to send an electrical current to the spine in order to block the feeling of pain. As with any surgery of the spine, exact precision is required in order to avoid grave damage no matter how straightforward the procedure seems. However, these devices sometimes puncture the spinal cord. Other times, the spinal cord stimulator can compress the spinal cord. When there is any impact on the spinal cord, the patient’s movement over their entire body is compromised. There have been numerous reports of patients becoming paralyzed over part or all of their bodies after having this device implanted. In the worst-case scenario, these devices have led to deaths. Many patients have required a subsequent surgery to remove the implant.
Though medical devices are widely used, they are not without risk. The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates specializes in these often medically complex cases. If you or a loved one has been injured by a medical device, contact our office for a free consultation of your case.