February 29, 2012

Pediatric Hospital Bed Recalled by FDA

by Levin & Perconti

Med Page Today reported on a new product recall that may have implications for care received by our most vulnerable patients at hospitals across the country. The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration issued a recall last week of a certain class of hospital bassinets. The FDA explained that the bed may actually put children at risk. Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers hope that all local facilities act quickly to ensure these beds are pulled from use. One of the benefits of having FDA oversight is to ensure steps can be taken before real harm occurs to unsuspecting patients and consumers.

The Perinatal Pediatric Hospital Bed recalled was found to have faulty doors and drawers. As a result the doors may inadvertently open when the bed is moved. The opening doors affect the swiveling and movement of the beds, which can lead to a range of issues affecting these very vulnerable infants. The FDA noted that serious injury and death may result because of this design defect. The particular beds in question were manufactured over a nine years period, from November 2003 until just this month. This FDA recall is in addition to a hold that the manufacturing company itself put on the product in October.

The FDA has labeled the recall Class I. Class I recalls are the most serious in that they have the potential to pose a reasonable risk of serious injury or death. This is most likely the case in this individual sitaution because of the vulnerabilities already faced by those relying on the product—infants in hospitals.

Product issues in the hospital context often implicate various legal issues. On one hand, injuries caused by defective products, even if they occur in a hospital, do not implicate medical malpractice. Actual malpractice is a legal claim that specifically alleges that a professional did not act with reasonable care when acting that professional capacity. That is different than a patient being hurt by a product that was improperly designed. In cases like this one it is easy to understand the distinction between the two types of claims.

However, some hospital injuries present real questions about whether medical malpractice is involved or just regular negligence. For example, each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm knows that patients are often injured because they fall while at the hospital. One common scenario is when a patient with mobility issues falls while going to, coming from, or using the restroom. In other situations, a patient may fall off a hospital bed or become injured by a bed rail problem. In those situations there is often disagreement about whether any malpractice was involved or simple negligence. The issue usually hinges on the definition of professional duties. Sometimes there is argument over whether helping a resident to and from a bathroom is part of the skill required by a professional medical caregiver or simple basic services.

However, local residents should remember that these are legal distinctions that affect how a suit is brought, what evidence needs to be collected, and similar details. It does not affect ones overall ability to seek compensation for the harm they suffered as a result of the injury. Hospitals and caregivers can be held liable for both medical malpractice as well as ordinary negligence.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Nearly 100,000 Die Every Year From Hospital Acquired Infections

A Hospital’s First Priority: Do No Harm