There are a lot of defective medical devices out there, but none so commonly problematic as insulin pumps.
The insulin pump was hailed as a revolutionary way to treat juvenile and brittle diabetics who rely on doses of insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels throughout the day. They're supposed to make life easier -- and safer -- for patients.
Instead, they may be killing them. An analysis by the Associated Press indicates that insulin pumps are the No. 1 source of consumer complaints about defective medical devices. They cause more injuries and deaths combined than any other type of medical device out there. In terms of patient injuries, they're second only to metal hip replacements.
Yet, unlike metal hip replacements, almost nobody seems to realize just how often insulin pumps are dangerously defective. Patients say that doctors even tend to blame a malfunctioning pump on human (or patient) error before considering the possibility that a pump isn't working right.
It's possible that doctors are buying into the advertising by the manufacturers of these devices. Medical device companies promote the pumps as incredibly safe -- but stress that patients must receive proper training on their use. They imply that mistakes by patients are largely responsible for the majority of problems. Doctors may be inclined to believe them simply because so many of the patients using the pumps are children.
In reality, many insulin pumps are complicated to use, and manufacturers may also be too aggressive in marketing them toward children who are not yet able to manage them. In addition, the pumps themselves often have problems. Medtronic, which manufactures the majority of insulin pumps, has issued about 20 recalls and been forced to defend against at least 100 lawsuits in the last 10 years over its defective devices.
If you suspect that a defective insulin pump injured you or your child, don't let your suspicions go unanswered. Talk to an attorney with experience in product liability cases about your experience and find out more about how you can make a claim for compensation.