We rely on medical professionals and equipment to be there for us when we are ill–we do not expect the system to fail. The terrifying truth, though, is that sometimes medical equipment failures do occur and other times medical equipment is used incorrectly. These problems can cause serious injury and even death. So what types of equipment can fail and who is at fault when medical equipment mistakes occur? Sometimes it can be a complex issue to sort through.
As much as we would like machines to work perfectly all of the time, there are times when they malfunction. This breakdown is especially serious when it occurs with medical equipment because it involves people’s lives. Some medical equipment that has been known to fail are X-ray machines, tools used for cancer diagnosis, blood pressure equipment, IV pumps, heart defibrillators and anesthetic machines. For instance, a faulty valve on an IV pump can cause a patient to receive an overdose of medication. When we look at this list it is easy to see why failure of such machines could have grave consequences.
In the case of an equipment malfunction, the problem may have originated with a default in the manufacturing of the product or it may have occurred due to aging of the machine. It is estimated that medical equipment fails less than one percent of the time, but even that seems like too much when it affects people’s lives. In other cases there is human fault behind medical equipment errors. Sometimes medical professionals incorrectly use medical machines or are negligent in keeping machines in working order. For example, in the case of life saving heart defibrillators, batteries must be maintained in order to be functional and effective.
Routine checks and maintenance are essential to keeping the equipment in proper working order. Hospitals and clinics must also ensure that medical workers are thoroughly trained on the correct way to use the equipment and about what signs may signal a malfunction. Maintaining proper maintenance records and keeping on top of training and refresher courses can go a long way to preventing medical equipment errors. Most hospital equipment is reliable and effective and staff are well trained and diligent, but there are instances where equipment and/or people fall short and accidents occur. When medical equipment does fail, it can be due to medical malpractice.
If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed because of medical equipment failure that you believe could have been prevented, we can help. Our Dallas defective medical device lawyers have experience in this area and can sort through the complexities. Fill out our form for a free assessment of your case. We will be in touch to discuss you options.