Surgical implants have become an increasingly common method for repairing structural damage to the body as well as accomplishing other medical objectives. While we assume that these implants — which are often expected to last for the lifetime of the implantee — are thoroughly tested and composed of the highest quality materials, flaws in material and design have led to startlingly high failure rates for some such devices. The serious injuries caused and additional medical treatments necessitated by these failures have generated numerous instances of legal action.
The following are examples of medical implants that have recently become the targets of major litigation:
- Transvaginal mesh — Transvaginal mesh, also sometimes called a bladder sling, is an artificial mesh that is attached to the abdominal wall to prevent the descent of internal organs and treat incontinence and organ prolapse. Similar products may also be used to treat certain kinds of hernias. Unfortunately, the side effects of these implants have been known to include bleeding, abdominal pain and infection.
- Artificial hips — Metal-on-metal hip replacement implants produced by numerous manufacturers have recently come under fire for failing prematurely. While artificial hips are not expected to be indestructible, as most recipients are older they are generally expected to last for the balance of their lives. Some such devices, however, have failed in as few as three years, requiring additional major surgery to remove and replace the defective implant.
Unexpected adverse side effects stemming from any surgical implant can potentially give rise to either a products liability or medical malpractice lawsuit. Victims of these types of failures frequently must undergo additional surgery and rehabilitation and suffer the pain and loss of productivity that accompanies it. Fortunately, many have been able to recover substantial compensation through individual lawsuits and other litigation with the help of experienced North Carolina lawyers.