At some point, it becomes very difficult to continue to give companies the benefit of the doubt. Medtronic is fast becoming one of those companies. Last year, Medtronic had six Class I recall events, where they were required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to recall medical equipment that had a possibility to inflict gross injury or death. That’s more than Johnson & Johnson, despite Johnson & Johnson being a much larger company.
Now Medtronic is issuing yet another Class I recall: this time for an external drainage and monitoring system that patients with severe injuries rely on to help keep them alive in ICUs and other similar situations. The reason for the recall is that system wires have a tendency to slip, especially for the very patients who need them the most, those who are having a lot of injections and sampling.
It is good that Medtronic is working with the FDA to recall these items, but it would be better if it wasn’t happening so often. Each year, medical malfunctions and malpractice are responsible for thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in suffering and lost wages. And, unless the company was particularly egregious in causing death and dismemberment, the FDA issues little more than a recall and a slap on the wrist fine.
Ideally none of us would need this equipment, but sometimes there is no choice. If you or a loved one needs to use any major medical devices, be sure you:
- Discuss the device or equipment with your physician and any specialists you see.
- Research the product, particularly any adverse incidents that have occurred to those using it.
- Research the company who makes the product, including where they make it, to see if there is a history of recall events from the company or the factory where the product is manufactured.
- Follow all protocols and instructions when using the device.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a defective device, you can’t rely on the FDA to pressure the drug companies to stop releasing products that maim and kill. Paltry fines are not enough, not when millions in profits have already been banked. Be sure you contact an attorney who can help you hold these companies accountable, and help protect people who may need life-saving care in the future.