Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Results In Increased Scrutiny Of Device Companies
We all know that medicine is big business. In fact, it’s among the biggest businesses in the U.S. This has occasionally resulted in unscrupulous tactics such as patient brokering or doctor contracts and kickbacks to use specific types of medical devices.
To be sure, your doctor has a duty of care to you—the patient—that is established by law. A doctor may have a different duty of care to a company for which they control an interest or are simply paid by company executives to use specific brands of equipment.
In one case, this resulted in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The doctor, who was performing a routine spinal surgery, did not have the proper size implant. After asking a rep from the medical device company to find him a smaller one, the rep said he was all out. The doctor proceeded with the surgery anyway, and the patient woke up in pain with severe complications. The device had to be removed four days later. A smaller one was installed. But the patient suffered considerable nerve damage as a result of the improper implant.
The patient is suing the doctor, the implant company, and the sales representatives for the company alleging medical negligence and regular negligence.
Orthopedic implants are a $20 billion industry all by themselves. Sales representatives reach out to doctors touting the efficacy of their products, new features, and why this year’s model is an improvement on last year’s. Problems come into play because not all medical devices are equal. Some fall apart shortly after their installed. Others take a couple of years to degrade. Some are the subject of multi-district class-action lawsuits while others are not. Once a doctor owns part of the company or gets benefits from using one company’s hardware, the doctor has a conflict of interest.
On the one hand, a doctor has a duty of care to ensure that their patients are receiving the prevailing standard of care for the industry. On the other hand, doctors are being persuaded by companies to use specific equipment.
In this case, the doctor proceeded with a surgery that had a likely chance of causing injury to the plaintiff. Using the wrong-sized equipment resulted in an extra surgery that required the device be removed and a smaller device be installed. During the surgeries, the patient suffered extensive nerve damage. The doctor should have waited to install the smaller medical device. Instead, he used a piece of equipment that caused injury to the plaintiff because it financially benefited him to do so. While the injury was an accident, and thousands of doctors do the same thing every day, it wouldn’t have happened if the doctor wasn’t financially incentivized to use one company’s equipment. In this case, the conflict of interest caused harm to the patient.
Talk to a Houston Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured due to a negligent medical doctor, the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers can offer a free case evaluation to determine whether or not your suit is actionable. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced quality of life.