Medical Device Safety Act of 2009 and Doctors

New England Journal of Medicine has an editorial from doctors who support federal legislation that would give injured patients the right to sue medical device manufacturers in state courts.

Sometimes I have a case against multiple defendants where each defendant would be better served by making a stronger case against the other defendant. But, as if by Pavlovian reflex, the defense lawyers will look to find common ground and bend over backward to avoid pointing to each other to the detriment of their clients.

I think the same Pavlovian reflex causes doctors to oppose the Medical Device Safety Act of 2009 that overrules Medtronic v. Riegel. This is rooted in doctors’ disdain for medical malpractice lawsuits, which leads to the reflex that anything that helps injury victims bring lawsuits is a bad thing. Because barring lawsuits against medical device manufacturers will lead many injured plaintiffs to blame their doctor, the result will be more medical malpractice lawsuits. Preemption will also undermine, as doctors writing in the New England Journal of Medicine have previously opined, the confidence that doctors and patients have in the safety of drugs and devices. If doctors cannot trust that the device manufacturers have to make products for which they will be held accountable, doctors are going to resist using medical devices that are efficacious. If Medtronic v. Riegel remains the law, it hurts patients and, ironically, medical device manufacturers.

Updated:
  • Dave

    Yes. All defendants good and all plaintiffs bad from defense lawyers. I’ve seen it 1,000 times, regardless of the client’s best interests.

  • Dave

    Yes. All defendants good and all plaintiffs bad from defense lawyers. I’ve seen it 1,000 times, regardless of the client’s best interests.

  • Tara

    I agree that the doctors are going to resist using the medical devices if they are going to be held liable for the faults of the manufactures. They will not want to use the devices if it could lead them to a malpractice suit. The manufactures should be held liable if something goes wrong and not the doctors. The doctors are going off the instructions and information from the manufactures.

Contact Information