Product Liability Vs. Medical Malpractice

When patients are injured as a result of a dangerous drug or defective medical device, it is important that the party at fault be determined not only to be held accountable, but to also prevent others from suffering similar unfortunate outcomes. Because laws involving medical manufacturers differ from those involving medical practitioners, legal help is often necessary to accurately determine who is liable for any wrongdoing. However, even with the help of a legal expert, the line between who is at fault is not always clear.

Recent examples of cases involving a medical device known as the da Vinci Surgical Robot demonstrate how liability can often be determined on a case-by-case basis. The medical device was originally designed to give surgeons better range of motion and provide patients with less invasive surgeries with faster recovery times. Unfortunately, it is possible for the robot to cause burns and tears of intestines, punctured blood vessels, severe injury to the bowels, excessive bleeding, and death. In one case, the manufacturer has been found liable due to design flaws that lead to the death of a 24 year-old woman. Other cases have resulted in both doctors and hospitals being found guilty of medical malpractice due to improper use and lack of training.

Another case in which the lines of accountability are blurred involve the birth control drugs Yaz and Yasmin. Having found the drugs to increase the risk of blood clots in women, along with other serious side effects, the FDA forced the manufacturer, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, to update their warning labels in order to inform women of the associated risk. However, while in some cases simply informing doctors and patients about risk via labels relieves manufacturers of any duty to patients using their drug, they may still be held accountable for their drug’s defects. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, it is essential that any company, like Bayer, that manufactures and releases dangerous medications be held accountable for their side effects.

Learn More