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Can medical malpractice be based on faulty equipment?

In a number of our posts on medical malpractice matters, we focus on how a physician fails to act as doctor with comparable experience and skills would in treating a patient. Indeed, we bemoan physicians who miss on basic diagnoses or conduct operations on the wrong side of the body. We also criticize medical assistants who do not communicate or miscount equipment before or after a surgical procedure. However, not all medical malpractice instances are based on human error.

Yes, some malpractice (or negligence) cases can be based on faulty equipment. According to a article, a large number of surgical errors can be traced back to equipment malfunctions. This is an important element to consider when human error is believed to be the main culprit in a malpractice matter. 

An element in the notion of reasonable care in surgical settings is to make sure that all equipment is ready, available and functioning properly. This is why a majority of hospitals follow strict protocols in preparing for procedures. However, if the equipment being used is not up to standard, the hospital could still be held liable if assistants do not perform reasonable checks are not performed.

After all, when equipment is not properly working (to monitor a person’s vitals, for example) the patient’s safety can be put in jeopardy. If a patient is harmed as a result, this can still be considered a failure to use reasonable care, and the hospital could be held liable.

If you have questions about your specific experience with medical negligence, an experienced attorney can help. 

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