Injuries from Spinal-Cord StimulatorsPublished: Mar 13, 2019 in Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Product Liability
Medical devices that are surgically implanted can give patients relief without the hassle of strict pill regimens or frequent doctor visits. When these devices fail, however, they can be difficult to remove or replace; in some cases, patients may be attached to a defective device that causes them pain. Spinal-cord stimulators were thought to be a solution for pain conditions, but defective devices are doing more harm than good.
One patient recently suffered from chronic pain due to nerve damage in his right arm. The device was surgically implanted, and his doctors told him that, while it would not cure his nerve damage, he would no longer experience the pain that he had been living with. Far from relieving his pain, the device failed almost immediately after it was implanted. The patient underwent a procedure to fix the device, but his situation did not improve, and the shock he received from the device severely limited his mobility. The device was removed about a year after it was inserted, but he may never recover from the damage to his lower back.
Devices Block Pain Signals
Spinal-cord stimulators provide an electrical current that can prevent pain signals from reaching the brain, using an external remote that controls a battery under the skin. They are used to treat patients suffering from numerous types of pain disorders and are a safe alternative to treat pain without the use of opioids. These devices have increased in popularity, with approximately 60,000 devices being prescribed each year, and they make up a significant portion of the $400 billion medical device industry.
As the prevalence of the devices has grown, so have the number of complaints from patients. Since 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received notice of more than 80,000 injuries. Spinal-cord stimulators now have the third highest rate of injury reports, behind metal hip replacements and insulin pumps. Patients are experiencing random shocks, burns at the implant site, or damage to their spinal cord, resulting in muscle weakness or paralysis. There have been 500 fatalities related to spinal-cord stimulators, though it is not clear whether complications from the surgery played a role.
The FDA classifies spinal-cord stimulators as high-risk medical devices, meaning they must undergo thorough clinical testing before being made available to patients. However, once a device is approved by the FDA, similar devices can circumvent the testing process if they can prove they are close enough to the original device. Manufacturers can also make significant changes to approved devices without testing them again. Consequently, many products on the market have not been rigorously tested. Spinal-cord stimulators have been the subject of numerous recalls in recent years as various models have been found defective.
St. Clair County Medical Malpractice Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Fight for the Rights of Defective Device Victims
If you or a loved one has suffered harm from a defective medical device, call the St. Clair County medical malpractice lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC. Our knowledgeable, experienced lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine if medical negligence was a factor in your injury and hold those responsible for your suffering accountable. With offices conveniently located in Swansea, Illinois, we help medical malpractice victims throughout Edwardsville, Belleville, and St. Clair County. Call us today at 618-277-3644 or contact us online for a free consultation.