Student’s Death Highlights Importance of Medical Device Safety

The area of products liability is one of the biggest areas in which a personal injury lawyer can make a difference in the lives of consumers. We rely upon products that we use every day to be safe and reliable, often putting our lives in the hands of the companies that make and manufacture these products.

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Nowhere is that more evident than in the area of medical products. A recent, tragic death in Chicago is a reminder of how vital it is to keep companies responsible for ensuring the safety of the products.

Chicago Law Student Dies

A young University of Chicago law student, Abbie Harper, died recently, apparently due to the failure of her diabetic monitoring equipment. Harper was a Type 1 diabetic, and used Abbott’s FreeStyle test strips with a glucose meter. According to the lawsuit, the products gave artificially low glucose readings. As a result, Harper didn’t take enough insulin, leading to her death.

The FreeStyle strips were recalled just days later, for that exact reason—providing inaccurately low readouts.

Harper’s lawyers also believe that not only were the readings inaccurate, but the strips were incompatible with the other devices she used.  And this isn’t the first time there had been indications of faulty products—in 2010 and 2013, Abbott products were pulled from shelves due to inaccurate readings as well.

Walgreens, which filled the prescription, is also being sued; in a products liability suit, even retailers who sell a defective product can be liable for injuries caused to a customer, even though the retailer may not have made or manufactured the product, and even though the retailer may not have had actual knowledge of the defective product.

Products Liability Suits Can Be Difficult

Like most products liability suits, Harper’s lawsuit will take some time to resolve, and likely will entail the testimony of experts, and the expert testing of products. Products liability suits should only be handled by attorneys with the resources and skill to not just obtain the needed evidence, but to explain it in common language to a jury.

Harper’s parents said the test strips were her lifeline. They likely were, just like so many medical devices and products that we rely upon on a day to day basis.

Yet, there is still grumbling about excessively high jury verdicts, and complaints by businesses (or their insurers) about how difficult it is to do business with the specter of lawsuits.

But lawsuits are about holding people responsible. Given the very high income statements of many pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies, it isn’t much to ask that companies be held responsible for the products they sell, make money on, and upon which they know patients rely.

If you have been injured by a product that you believe was defective, or malfunctioned, don’t let a negligent company get away with continuing to sell faulty products. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury case.

Photo Credit: Jill A. Brown via Compfight cc

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