Defective medical equipment claims

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Peter Rigby, Director of Medical Neglience

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Defective medical equipment claims

Medical professionals are often reliant on specialist equipment to carry out treatment successfully. Unfortunately, medical equipment can sometimes cause injury and harm for a variety of reasons from whether the device itself was defective/damaged or it was not used in the correct manner resulting in failure.

If a defect in the equipment arises during surgery the consequences can be devastating.
As medical negligence specialists, we want to hear from you if you have experienced a surgery involving faulty medical equipment. The primary responsibility for injuries caused by defects in equipment lies with the medical practitioner however, sometimes this responsibility can be transferred onto the manufacturer of the product itself. Our first approach will be to establish what defect has arisen, the harm this has caused and the party that is at fault.

If you or, or someone you wish love has been injured as a result, we can help you make your defective medical equipment claim.

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Types of claims relating to defective medical equipment in surgery

From our experience, we know that faults with defective medical equipment can take some time to uncover particularly the need to determine whether the fault is the surgeon’s or a fault in the manufacturing process or design.

The use of medical devices is highly regulated and there are a number of significant responsibilities placed on the manufactures and the operators to ensure that any problems are clearly recorded and if necessary, reported to the relevant governing body.

Some examples of medical equipment failures that we have investigated:

  • Diathermy injury due to faulty heat settings
  • Failed prosthetic devices, including spinal and joint implants
  • Faulty pacemakers including the application of incorrect settings
  • Defective operating theatre lighting
  • Faulty intraoperative imaging resulting in misplaced surgery
  • Burst catheters due to stress fractures
  • Repeated surgeries required due to the failure of a piece of equipment

Rest assured, if you are negatively impacted by the defective medical equipment in surgery, we have extensive experience in settling these types of claims.

Common types of defective equipment

Whether they are used by professionals within the NHS or in private care, medical devices can fail at any stage whether by developing a defect or being defective from the outset.

A defect can be very varied. It may be obvious or in some circumstances hidden or “latent”. It can therefore be difficult for patients to know if their treatment has been impacted by a defect in the equipment.

Surgical equipment

If you have been injured during surgery or other treatment it is important that you make enquiries with your treating doctor to determine if there were any complications arising from the equipment used and if so, what this was. Some common types of equipment that can give rise to problems are listed below:

  • Forceps – to grasp, retract, or stabilize tissue and often used during difficult births
  • Pacemakers – small electrical devices surgically implanted in your chest
  • Replacement heart valves
  • Cochlear implants
  • Syringe drivers – used to mechanically push medicine into the body
  • Stents – a short, wire-mesh tube that acts like a scaffold to help keep a vessel open
  • Balloon catheters – used to enlarge narrow vessels

Outdated or poorly maintained equipment:

The use of outdated or unsafe medical machinery can not only cause significant harm, but this is also an example of medical negligence in that the clinician has failed to ensure that the patient is operated upon or treated in a safe manner. This duty extends to all aspects of the care.

Although most hospitals abide by stringent and rigorous standards, both in terms of practice and application, there are times machinery is used in a dangerous manner. Most devices will have a recognised lifespan and should be used within prescribed timeframes. Complex machines should be maintained and serviced regularly and appropriately sterilised for repeated use with different patients.

This may fall to be the responsibility of the healthcare provider or sometimes the manufacturer if the equipment requires specialist maintenance

With most claims of this nature, determining liability of the machinery’s use and proving negligence is not something that can be done easily.

Often, expert medical witnesses are needed to provide statements whereas expert medical professionals will also need to look at the evidence before a case is concluded.

Medical and cosmetic implants

Medical and cosmetic implant injuries also fall under defective medical equipment/device claims.
In recent years there has been a substantial rise in cosmetic implant cases and in particular breast implants. For example, in 2010, PIP breast implants were withdrawn from the UK after it was revealed they had been manufactured using unapproved silicone gel. This caused a number of women fitted with them to experience splitting and rupturing and also to suffer from the uncertainty over future complications. Skin fillers, dermal implants and lenses are also classed as medical devices.

Fortunately, we’re experienced at handling such cases and understand the trauma that comes as a result of negligently implanted devices or failures of the devices themselves.

Defective Mesh claims

For more information relating to the effects of primodos, sodium valproate and pelvic, please see our response HERE.

Processing your defective medical equipment claim

To make a claim relating to defective medical equipment, the first step is to get in touch with our expert medical negligence team where you will receive your free consultation.

Take your time and share your experience. We can then offer the latest legal advice as to whether we believe you have a claim. Also, any information we take from you will be done safely and securely in line with the very latest GDPR and data protection laws.

By picking up the phone today, you can start your journey to justice and put months or years of suffering behind you.

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Why Choose Patient Claim Line for your Defective medical equipment claim?

Not just lawyers — medical negligence experts

Patient Claim Line was established in 2014 and consists of a team of medical lawyers specialising in medical negligence and misdiagnosis claims.

At Patient Claim Line we have more than 100 solicitors with combined experience of over 400 years and they will work on your behalf to achieve the best result possible for you.

It's not enough to use a solicitor who sometimes covers medical negligence. You need someone who knows this area through and through. That is what the solicitors here at Patient Claim Line do. They deal exclusively in this area of law and are experts in the field.

Meet our medical negligence team

Peter Rigby

Peter Rigby
Director of Medical Negligence

Peter leads the Medical Negligence Serious Injury department, which now boasts some of our most knowledgeable, dedicated and hardworking team members.

Peter is dedicated to supporting victims of catastrophic medical negligence injuries and endeavours to provide a clear and coherent approach to claims. He recognises the effects serious injuries can have and therefore ensures his customers’ need for support is met. Peter also has a vast amount of experience working with customers who have been injured abroad and is able to act under international law to provide the best outcomes.

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Christian Beadell

Christian Beadell
Head of Group Action

Christian is Head of Medical Negligence at Patient Claim Line and has specialised in clinical negligence claims since qualifying in 1998; having dealt with a wide variety of claims throughout his career. He is also featured in the Legal 500 as a recommended claimant solicitor in the North West.

Christian qualified as a solicitor in 1998, specialising in clinical negligence. From 2010 onward he has had a particular interest in gynaecological and urogynaecological claims, having represented several hundred claimants in the George Rowland Litigation against the Liverpool Women’s and Aintree Hospitals. This investigated the treatment given to women in the Merseyside area over several decades, and in particular focused on the introduction and development of mesh into the UK in both the treatment of stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The development of this area involved pursuing claims under a unique ADR protocol with the NHS and also looking to develop the current thinking on the valuation of compensation for complex urinary symptoms. He has successfully recovered hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation on behalf of my clients.

Christian was also involved in setting up and chairing a Claimant Support Group for those involved in the Rowland litigation, which provided a discussion forum for the many women who were left isolated and damaged by negligent gynaecological treatment. He now co-ordinates the firm’s mesh claims and has delivered training and commented extensively on the medico-legal implications of urogynaecological / mesh complications. He is a member of APIL, Liverpool Law Society and Legal 500 recommended.

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Francesca Paul

Francesca Paul
Associate Solicitor

Francesca Paul is an Associate, Senior Solicitor and Team Leader within the Clinical Negligence Department.  She is one of the driving Solicitors in the Group Litigation Team dealing with this niche and specialist area of work that Fletchers undertakes.   

Francesca previously worked in Nottingham, dealing with Group Action work.  She now works at Fletchers, bringing with her those years of experience heading up a team of 10 people.  Francesca is involved in the early identification of potential new Group Litigation Work and analyses information from the collective pool of new enquiries into the business, of which there are hundreds per week looking for hot spots or recurrent issues which might suggest a potential pool of Claimants.   

One of the highlights for Francesca and her team is that they have successfully recovered over a million pounds in compensation for clients who have received treatment from a single orthopaedic surgeon who was operating in the Colchester area.  Her role requires a specific set of skills, patience and a forensic approach to detail whilst being able to see the wider picture.   

Francesca has previously acted for a claimant in a case that reached the Supreme Court in the case of NA v Nottinghamshire County Council. 

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Sion Wynne

Sion Wynne
Team Leader/Senior Solicitor

Sion is a team leader and senior solicitor with many years’ experience in dealing with a wide range of medical specialisms and different types of injuries. He is an experienced medical negligence solicitor and manages a team of lawyers within our department.

Sion joined Fletchers in 2018 as a Team Leader in the Medical Negligence Department. Throughout his 24 year legal career, he has specialised in conducting medical negligence claims on behalf of Claimants, previously working for other highly ranked leading firms in the field.

He has undertaken claims covering the full spectrum of medical specialisms, clinical settings, categories of defendant and types of negligent medical care and treatment.
These include high value and complex maximum severity cases, such as those involving limb amputations and permanent neurological injuries.

Sion is experienced at representing bereaved families at inquests and has a particular interest in fatal accident claims.

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Case Study

Sarah's Story

"Now we have peace of mind"

My husband, Nick, went back and forth to the doctors for a long time and tried everything the doctor recommended. But his illness got worse, to the point that he was in agony.

In the end we got so desperate that we asked for a referral. The doctor was reluctant, so we had to consult a private hospital. That’s when we found out there was a tumour. It took years from the onset of his illness to finally start cancer treatment.

He used to be a man with a lot to live for, but in the end he was in so much pain that he withdrew from the family. He became angry that nobody had helped him sooner, and the legal team were able to give him the validation that he was desperately seeking. The NHS confirmed if they had done more, Nick would still be alive today.

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