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Defective Medical Equipment Claims

Reviewed by

Peter Rigby - Director of Medical Negligence | Last updated on: 4th January, 2024

We've got your Defective Medical Equipment Claim covered

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 cancer negligence and general medical negligence claims.

At Patient Claim Line we have more than 100 solicitors with a 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.

Frequently asked questions about Defective Medical Equipment Claims

Our expert legal team answer your questions about making a Defective Medical Equipment Claim

Defective medical equipment is equipment that is faulty, broken or unsafe and has been used in a medical setting, such as a hospital or dentistry.

To ensure you receive the compensation you may be entitled to a claim for defective medical equipment should be made within three years of the negligence occurring or from when the effects of negligence first appear. In cases involving anyone under 18, the legal case must be pursued within three years from the date of their 18th birthday.

Anyone who believes they have suffered as a result of defective medical negligence are welcome to make a claim and is within the three-year time limit to make a claim. If you wish to make a claim for someone else who has suffered negligence due to defective medical equipment, please take a look at our guide to claiming for someone else.

Meet our Defective Medical Equipment Team

  • Christian Beadell

    Partner, Head of Strategy and Legal Operations

  • Francesca Paul

    Associate Solicitor

  • Sion Wynne

    Senior Solicitor

  • Michael Gray

    Partner, Senior Solicitor

  • Case Study

    Sarah's Story

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    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.