Equipment recall sparks concern for medical negligence claims

Date: Dec 14, 2015

No matter what people around Australia consult health professionals for, they expect these people to have access to state-of-the-art technology and equipment that is safe for operation.

However, as with any other manufactured product, there is a risk of medical equipment leaving the factory or facility where it is created in a state that is unfit for its intended use. If these defects aren’t picked up and are used during a medical procedure, they could harm patients and lead to medical negligence claims.

According to Osteoporosis Australia, someone around the country breaks a bone every 3.6 minutes. While this is an extremely common – and often minor – injury, a recent case of defective equipment made the related procedures much more hazardous than they needed to be.

Screw recall creates public health risk

In cases of severe fractures, surgeons often use screws and other similar equipment to secure an injury and allow it to heal correctly. However, if these pieces of equipment aren’t produced correctly, they can have the opposite effect, making broken bones worse instead of helping them to heal.

The Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced a recall for the screws that are used to repair broken bones in people around Australia. The issue concerns the way the screws align with the metal plates they support in medical applications. According to the TGA, this structural failure causes the screw to sit too high, and can aggravate surrounding tissue.

One of the main problems that can occur as a result of this defect is soft tissue irritation as nearby tissue incorrectly comes into contact with the screw. Another possible issue is that the screw unwinds and comes completely loose, meaning the equipment is no longer performing as required.

If this second situation occurs, it can create the need for further rounds of surgery to readdress the problem. As this can be expensive for the affected party, it’s important to pursue a medical negligence case to ensure people are fairly compensated for the added suffering and complications.

The TGA reported that the affected screws concern batches from 2008 through to 2014, meaning there is a high chance of this equipment creating concerns for people around NSW. While the organisation said the likelihood of the issue occurring is remote, there is still a chance of it happening.

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