This is News Which Shouldn’t be Ignored Because of Serious Consequences
Whenever medical device failures hit the news, it’s usually because serious consequences have been reported or the potential for serious consequences exists. Keeping this in mind, this is news which shouldn’t be ignored if you or a family member uses any type of medical device at all from EpiPens to ventilators, and anything in between. In fact, over the years the news has reported failures in pacemakers, some of which resulted in the death of patients wearing malfunctioning devices.
No matter how minimal you think the risks are, if a medical device is being used by a patient, there is always room for failure and ultimate recall of those products, so it is in your best interests to stay informed. Here are a couple of examples which have made recent news.
Newport HT70 Ventilators
Trading on the NYSE as MDT, Medtronic recently issued what is being called a “voluntary field corrective action” for malfunctioning ventilators that are being used in patient care around the country. Oddly, the FDA is allowing this to be a voluntary corrective measure but the results could be fatal if the malfunction isn’t caught before the ventilator resets itself, failing to turn back on again. This could result in hypoxic brain injury which can lead to death and serious, irreparable damage to the brain.
Once the brain is deprived of oxygen, serious consequences can result in as few as two to five minutes. After five minutes of oxygen deprivation, the brain shuts down. This is the issue at hand and why the HT70 and HT70 Plus are the subject of this voluntary action. Having been manufactured for the past 7 years, since 2010, the HT70 and HT70 plus are being used in hospitals and care facilities nationwide. The voluntary field corrective statement was issued on April 5, 2017.
Unfortunately, a widespread malfunction has been noted and although the press release didn’t give facts or figures in regards to patients suffering ill consequences, the units are said to reset for no apparent reason, failing to restart upon resetting. There is no alarm installed for this feature, which leaves patients susceptible to being deprived of a necessary supply of oxygen to the body and ultimately, the brain.
Since no specific cases have been enumerated, it is yet unclear whether any suits will be brought against Medtronic and/or hospitals and other healthcare institutions using the HT70 or HT70 Plus. If someone you know is on a ventilator, it is incumbent upon you to check as soon as possible to ensure that they are not on one of these ventilators and if so, demand the hospital take necessary steps to ensure proper alarms are set up in the instance of malfunction.
Meridian Medical Technologies Voluntary Recall of EpiPens
In one of their latest bulletins, the FDA issued an alert to consumers who have been prescribed EpiPens from any of 13 lots found to be potentially defective. For those who aren’t clear on the function of an EpiPen, this is a portable device that is called a pen based on its size and shape. These are primarily used by patients with severe allergies which are potentially life-threatening, those which can result in anaphylactic shock. Food allergens and insect bites are among the most common triggers for such a reaction and injecting oneself with epinephrine can reverse the symptoms of severe allergic reactions which would make it difficult, if not impossible to breathe.
The main function is to narrow blood vessels, thereby opening airways in the lungs. As is immediately obvious, a malfunctioning EpiPen could lead to a failure to deliver this life-saving pharmaceutical in a timely response to an allergic reaction. It is unclear whether or not any patients have suffered serious consequences due to failure but statistics will be released if forthcoming.
When Legal Action Is Necessary
If you, or a family member for whom you are responsible, has suffered ill effects due to the failure of any medical device, it is in your best interests to seek legal counsel at your first opportunity once the situation has been dealt with on a medical level. The patient’s care is your primary concern but if serious damages resulted from malfunctioning devices, you do have legal recourse.
Although it is always best for the patient to be stabilized and brought through a serious event, there are times when side effects or consequences aren’t noticed until damage has been done, sometimes irreparable health related issues and in worst case scenario, death. You have the right to bring action against allegedly guilty parties. Even so, always keep apprised of the news and any recalls for the safety of patients using any medical device whatsoever.