Although many people consider medical malpractice to be botched surgery, misdiagnosis or failed diagnosis, it may also involve defective medical equipment.
“No expectant mother goes to hospital thinking they will be in labor for 18 hours or more and be in screaming pain the whole time. This case that we heard about involves a woman who knew she would need painkillers when she gave birth and asked for an epidural. It turned out that the pain pump was broken,” said Charlie Donahue, a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States.
This case could have turned out ever worse if the baby had been harmed, but thankfully, it was OK. The upshot of this case is that because the pain pump was not working, the woman did not get any pain relief for at least 16 hours. The fact that the pain pump was defective was not caught until the 16th hour of her pain-wracked labor.
Over the course of a very long and draining day for the mother, several anesthesiologists, each who administered even stronger drugs, attended her to. The fact that none of the medication seemed to be working for her should have been a tip off, but the doctor parade continued until someone realized the pain pump was defective.
Despite this whole ordeal and the fact that the pain pump was broken and still being used without being checked, the hospital sent the family a bill for everything that happened that day – use of the pain pump, all the medications that she never received, all the visits by the doctors and medications she did receive. While the family understands that they need to pay for the medications the mother did get, they have an issue with the defective pain pump and the botched epidural.
Medical malpractice? “Medical malpractice to leave a patient in unearthly pain for 16 out of 18 hours? Maybe. The hospital has a duty to their patients to provide them with the proper care. It’s evident they did not check the pain pump. Medical malpractice to use defective equipment? Possibly. It is the hospitals responsibility to use equipment in good working order,” Donahue said. “Additionally, with defective medical equipment and devices, some states have charitable immunity laws which protect/insulate hospitals from liability. This is something that needs to be looked into with every defective equipment claim.”
This case is like a surgeon using a defective hip replacement implant. When it gives out, the patient may sue for medical malpractice, as the surgeon should have known the implant was defective. It is a situation that needs to be taken to a New Hampshire injury lawyer to find out what legal rights are applicable, what may be done to recover or mitigate expenses and whether or not med mal is present.
“There are instances where a bad outcome with a doctor is not the result of medical malpractice. There are also many instances where a plaintiff does not want to sue the doctor, but is okay with suing the maker of the medical product that failed. This gives the victim another option to recover compensation for their injuries,” Donahue said.
To learn more, visit Donahuelawfirm.com.