Medical Devices – from contact lenses to insulin pumps – injure about 70,000 children each year in the United States. A study published in the journal Pediatrics Monday is the first to compile data on the injuries. The increasing use of medical devices designed for adults in children concerns researchers.
- A groundbreaking study of hospital admissions estimates over 70,000 injuries yearly
- Many injuries linked to improper handling or care of medical devices by patients
- Concerns over pediatric use of adult devices
Many Injuries Preventable, Some Tradeoffs Made
Contact lenses caused one-quarter of the injuries counted. Many of these were minor infections or scratches caused by kids failing to clean their contacts carefully or wearing them too long. Devices also caused some serious injuries. Some devices allow children to be treated at home instead of in the hospital. Sometimes parents lack the skill or knowledge to handle the devices properly. The idea that some of the injuries may be the result of adult devices being used in children raises questions of defective design by manufacturers and malpractice by caregivers.
As doctors and healthcare use medical devices more frequently to treat patients, litigation over injures the devices cause also increases. Very often the litigation takes the form of a class action. In a class action, the claims of numerous people who’ve been injured by the same device or drug are combined in one lawsuit. Injured persons may choose to join the lawsuit or go it alone.
Class actions involving persons injured by medical devices will involve some form of a product liability claim. Individual claims relating to devices might also involve a theory of medical malpractice or negligence. The increase in malpractice and products liability cases continues to stoke the health care and tort reform debate.
By: Arthur Buono
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