Malpractice Dangers of New Medical Devices

Mark Crane

Disclosures

October 30, 2014

In This Article

Could I Get in Trouble for Using a Medical Device?

If a patient is injured owing to a mishap involving a medical device, who gets sued?

The patient's attorney could bring a product liability suit against the manufacturer, arguing that the device is defective. He could sue the physician for malpractice for improperly using the device. Or he could sue both of them.

Search the Internet for "medical devices and malpractice," and you'll quickly find dozens of law firms touting horror stories involving various devices and urging patients to contact them for consultations.

For example, lawsuits based on robotic surgery gone wrong are particularly popular now. The law firms allege that the technology is too often placed in the hands of surgeons before the product has been thoroughly tested or before surgeons have received adequate training. Lawyers say that hospitals are pressuring doctors to use the equipment to justify its $2 million-plus price tag at the expense of patient safety.

But malpractice risk for doctors isn't limited to new, expensive devices. You can get sued regarding devices and items as basic as wheelchairs and catheters.

What can physicians do to protect themselves from the risk of being sued, particularly with new devices?

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