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Should medical device makers be held liable in malpractice cases?

With more intricate surgical procedures becoming technology dependent, it is becoming important for medical malpractice law to catch up, so that it could deal with the potential health problems that can come from technological defects.

 In prior posts, we have noted that medical malpractice is not always based on a physician’s error or negligence. The case involving a da Vinci surgical machine is a prime example. In a separate medical malpractice case emanating from surgical complications, an injured patient attempted to include the device maker along with the hospital and the offending surgeon.

However, a district court judge believed that the device maker should not be included. After all, it was determined that a medical device maker could not be responsible for the actions of a poorly trained physician. Nevertheless, the decision has sparked a debate over whether devices should meet credentialing standards similar to what doctors must procure.

According to an article produced by, it appears that device credentialing is a good idea. However, obtaining such credentials may be easier said than done. For one, technology changes can be so rapid that doctors may not be able to keep up; especially considering how traditional credentialing is applied. With that said, the overall consensus is that hospitals must take responsibility for ensuring that doctors (visiting or otherwise) are adequately trained on the latest devices before granting privileges.

This is especially important considering that negligent credentialing is a basis for medical malpractice claims in 25 states. It remains to be seen whether hospitals will make the necessary adjustments. 

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