Spinal Cord Stimulators Injuring Patients
In the midst of the opioid crisis, doctors are hoping to find alternative pain-management solutions that do not result in addiction. Among those are spinal cord stimulators. The spinal cord stimulators are surgically implanted in the patients where they “cloak” the pain. While they do not repair the damaged nerves, they can help those with these sorts of injuries live pain-free lives. At least that’s the pitch. Some are saying that the devices are malfunctioning and this is resulting in more pain and subsequent surgeries.
How the Spinal Cord Stimulator Works
According to doctors, the device works by sending a mild electrical current to the spinal cord where it masks pain signals before they can reach the brain. It works on pain related to the legs, arms, and back. Instead of eliminating the pain or the correcting the source of the problem, it interferes with the signal.
How the Spinal Cord Stimulator Failed
According to one man, the spinal cord stimulator began malfunctioning shortly after it was implanted. It would “shock” him throughout the night making it virtually impossible for him to fall asleep. In one case, the device shocked him while he attempting to go down the stairs. He fell to the bottom sustaining serious permanent injuries as a result.
While the devices had the enthusiastic support of doctors and medical engineering companies, the number of failures associated with the devices have been startling. Today, the medical devices have tallied the third-highest number of medical-equipment-related injuries.
Patients are reporting that the devices shock them or burn them and do significant damage to their spinal cords. This, in some cases, has left them virtually paralyzed. In other cases, the side effects have been only minor muscle weakness.
To date, the FDA has data on 500 patients who have died with the device implanted but have not indicated whether the device was responsible for their deaths or not.
How Was This Device Approved?
Contrary to popular belief, the FDA does short-track a number of medical devices. The spinal cord stimulator was among those devices. Generally, so long as some analog already exists on the market, the FDA will allow the device to be used with minimal testing. This includes devices that have been repurposed for another use. What the FDA does not do is keep data on the success and failure rate of specific products.
While many say that the device completely destroyed their lives, there are proponents out there who claim the device has saved theirs. In a case like this, it is difficult to determine what constitutes a product liability lawsuit and what constitutes medical malpractice. If the device was installed improperly, that’s medical malpractice. If the device was installed correctly, then the product manufacturer is to blame. In most cases, there are very few people who can make a determination as to which is the case.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney
The Miami legal team at the office of Alan Goldfarb P.A. has helped numerous injured parties recover millions in damages. If you’ve been injured, give us a call or talk to us online. We can help.