Defective Medical Device Update: Drug Delivery Malfunctions

Defective medical device injuries are becoming more common in the United States, and one of the largest risks is posed by drug delivery machines.

These automated medication delivery systems are typically used to provide pain medication, nutrients and other fluids at regular time intervals. They save lives and are successfully used to treat many patients, but they are not without risk. Defective pumps can lead to serious injury or harm to patients, and in some cases, can even death.

What Is a Drug Delivery Device?

A drug delivery device, or drug infusion pump, is an electronic or mechanical system that intravenously infuses fluids into a patient’s circulatory system. Drug pumps deliver controlled amounts of fluids, such as medication, hormones or insulin, at regulated time intervals.

These devices, which are used in hospitals and at home, may be external or surgically implanted into the patient. Infusion pumps are frequently used to administer pain medication, but they are also commonly used with many other health situations and conditions as well. High-risk patients often require intravenous delivery of critical fluids and nutrients, for instance, and many who are hospitalized need antibiotics.

Drug pumps are also routinely employed to provide medication to cancer patients and those with diabetes or certain nerve conditions.

Risks of Drug Infusion Pumps

With any type of mechanical or electronic medical device comes the risk of malfunction. Drug pumps sometimes fail due to a problem with the software, such as a glitch that misinterprets the inputted infusion rate and consequently delivers an incorrect dosage. Broken components or mechanical or battery failure account for some infusion pump malfunctions, including sparks, shocks or even fire.

Infusion pumps may also have user interface design issues, such as false or nuisance alarm functions or unclear and confusing error codes or instructions, which can cause medical staff or patients to miss problems or respond too late.

Liability for Drug Delivery Device Failure

Medical devices sold on the U.S. market are extensively tested before the Food and Drug Administration grants approval; however, device manufacturers are ultimately responsible for ensuring that their products are safe.

Most lawsuits involving drug pump failure are product liability claims. Infusion pump manufacturers can be held legally responsible for injuries or deaths that result from a device that fails due to a design or a manufacturing defect. In some defective product liability claims, inadequate instructions, inaccurate product usage recommendations or improper warnings for usage can put the device manufacturer at fault for defective marketing.

Obtaining legal compensation for injuries or death caused by a drug pump malfunction can be a complicated process. If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to a drug delivery device failure, contact the experienced professionals at Rasmussen and Miner in Salt Lake City. We can assist you in any type of medical malpractice situation and help guide you through the complex legal process. Contact us today to discuss your defective medical device case.