Written by attorney Jeffrey H. Rasansky

Defective or Faulty Medical Equipment Causing Injury or Death

We all rely on medical professionals and medical equipment to help when we are ill - and we don’t expect the system to fail at such an important time. The terrifying truth though, is that medical equipment failures do occur, and sometimes 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?

As much as we want 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 may affect a person’s life. 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, anesthetic machines, transvaginal mesh slings, etc.

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 so profoundly.

In some 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 & effective, and the staff are usually well-trained and diligent - but there are instances where equipment and/or people fall short and accidents occur. When medical equipment does fail, however, it may very-well be due to medical malpractice or product liability.

Jeff Rasansky - Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer

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