Faulty surgical products create risk of medical negligence claims

Date: Jun 13, 2016

There are a number of reasons for people to end up having surgery. From elective to emergency procedures, Australians depend on both the medical professionals who care for them and the products and equipment they use.

This is no small number of Australians either, with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reporting that around 700,000 people go under the knife every year around the country for elective surgery alone. With even more people included when emergency procedures are accounted for, it’s easy to see why equipment errors or product failures can have a major effect on the population.

A recent issue spotted in a common surgical product shows why such medical negligence claims are so common. If a procedure fails or negatively impacts someone’s health, it’s important they have access to a legal recourse.

How can faulty surgical products impact individuals?

Every surgical procedure, no matter how minor, will rely on medical technology and practitioner skill in some manner. If either of these are compromised, it can greatly affect the surgery’s success and the patient’s overall health and wellbeing.

Recently, the Department of Health published details of a recall for a particular medical product that’s used in many common procedures. The Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh that Johnson & Johnson produces has been found to possess a number of faults. At this stage, it is unclear why the product is not performing as intended, so it has been withdrawn from use by the manufacturer.

The device is an implant designed to alleviate laparoscopic ventral hernias, a common type of keyhole surgery. However, recently patients that have had the composite mesh implanted have been exhibiting abnormally high rates of re-operation or reoccurrence of their original health issues. While any product in any industry will have a known failure rate attached to it, when these exceed normal reference points, authorities or the manufacturers need to react to prevent further harm.

The Department of Health is advising both patients and health professionals to be aware of the issue, especially when managing recurring health issues associated with these procedures. For hospitals, the department advises quarantining all remaining stock and ensuring that the goods are returned to the supplier promptly.

To discuss further details of a medical negligence claim or other legal issue, get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.