Medical implant technology has improved the lives of many individuals who were in clear medical need of the device and had no other options. However, some implants are cosmetic and purely requested by the patient. The term “customer” may be a better description in the cosmetic cases. Individuals with distinct medical problems who agree to the surgery on medical recommendation are patients. There is no better example of this situation than the Stryker hip implant option.
Liability in Marketing
Stryker sold the professional medical community on the viability of these devices as life-improving operations in terms of pain and mobility for those with deteriorating hips. The initial hip replacement recipients were in post-conventional stage of life and needed increased mobility in order to live a better life. The initial results for these implants were generally positive.
However, Stryker later communicated to surgeons in a subsequent marketing plan that the devices are viable options for younger individuals who do not necessarily need them for any specific health improvement. Liability depends on medical recommendations in specific cases supported by marketing claims of the manufacturer. There is a possibility that both are liable based on negligent delivery of false information to the recipient or doctor.
Physicians have a considerable amount of respect and professional latitude from the court system. In addition, if other doctors support the primary caregivers in their professional medical assessment, then the primary doctor has a stronger defense.
That still does not mean that all doctors are totally protected professionally. The surgeon installing the implant can still be negligent in the discharge of a reasonable duty of care and medical professional ability. There can be bad installations of otherwise operable implants.
Manufacturers also must implement a reasonable duty of care concerning recommendations of company products. Recommending an unneeded implant can easily constitute negligence, often made more egregious as part of a premeditated marketing plan. False representations of a medical device can be a serious case of negligence if the device does not operate properly.
Defective equipment also gets installed, once again exampled by the extensive number of Stryker hip replacement recalls of faulty equipment. It is entirely possible that manufacturers can be found liable and overtly negligent in the same case when a dysfunctional and unnecessary implant is installed.
Cosmetic Surgery Liability
Cosmetic surgery implants that are specifically requested by the customer may be problematic when attempting to file a legal claim for malpractice. Again, it is determinate on marketing and recommendation. Both the surgeon and manufacturer can be liable, but negligence can be compromised when the client is adamant in requesting the product.
Defective products do carry legal liability requirements, but medical professionals may be able to protect themselves from a legal claim by not recommending the surgery. The issue is still dependent on the medical necessity for a possible effective candidate receiving the life-improving device by professional recommendation.
It is clearly possible that both the doctors and the manufacturer can be held responsible legally for a defective medical device or implant, such as the faulty equipment involved in the Stryker hip replacement recall. Winning the case is based on the patient’s legal counsel and their ability to communicate to the court that an injury actually occurred and the injury was the direct result of the respondents action, whether it is ineffective medical performance or false marketing claims.
This is why it is crucial to any recipient of a defective implant to retain an experienced and effective attorney who understands how to craft a defective implant case for maximum punitive award based on life-long impact of the defective installation.