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Safety of New Heart Stent Design Questioned

In more cases than not, our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers work with victims who were harmed because their medical care provider did not act reasonably in dealing with their specific situation. These individual, personal errors occur far too frequently and can have life-altering consequences for those hurt. However, there are other problems in the medical context that can cause serious harm to patients that do not involve specific decision-making errors on the part of the medical provider. For example, in most medical situations two factors are involved-the skill of the provider and the medical tools that they use. When there are problems with medical devices involved in any given procedure the patient may be severely harmed, regardless of the skill of the involved medical provider.

For example, blog readers are well versed in the problems with DePuy hip implants, some of which were recalled last year following concerns about their faulty design. Problematic medical designs are not limited to replacement hips. Just this week a new article in the Journal of Interventional Cardiology raised concerns about a particularly dangerous heart stent design. Heart stent are used to keep blood vessels open in the heart, usually for patients who have heart disease. Coronary stents are essentially scaffolds in the heart that ensure a healthy stream of blood into the organ. These devices are lifesavers for patients who need them-if they are safe. However, some medical experts have expressed doubt that a new heart stent design may be effective, putting patients at risk. The article authors shared the story of one patient who suffered a heart attack following the use of a new Ion stent. The stent became deformed, clogged the blood vessel, and lead to the attack.

Specifically, the medical experts have questioned the stent’s ability to resist “shortening.” The new designs of stents have been pursued by medical device makers using new materials. However, researchers discovered that a particular new stent design is subject to a deformity– “shortening.” The shortening occurs more often when a clinician attempts to complete the procedure using catheters and balloons after the stent was already implanted. When the stent shortens or clots, the patient can have life-threatening complications. Often, the patient will have a heart attack.

An editorial by a doctor following the publication explained that the results are “disturbing.” The doctor urged all those involved in the use, design, manufacture, and safety of these devices look into the concerns to ensure that the problem is not allowed to hurt more patients. It is hoped that new regulations will soon be released to guide use of these newly designed coronary stents.

Doctors and medical providers are not asked to perform miracles. However, they are asked to act reasonably in all situations such that their unreasonable or dangerous actions do not harm unsuspecting patients. When doctors, nurses, medical device manufacturers fail in that regard, the law allows a medical malpractice lawsuit to be brought by harmed victims. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys are proud to help those victims receive redress, no matter what the context of the harm-personal error or faulty medical devices.

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