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Are Equipment Failures Cause for Medical Malpractice Claims?

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

Medical equipments in hospital operation room

Doctors can be held liable for far more than just their own mistakes in a medical malpractice case. The term is broad enough to encompass many things that happen during the medical care process that injures the patient, where the doctor acts unreasonably. They may have legal liability when medical equipment malfunctions and injures the patient.

Physicians Must Actively Monitor and Clean Medical Equipment

Physicians have a legal obligation to monitor the equipment that assists them in treating their patients. This includes things like the equipment that tracks the patient’s vital signs and surgical equipment that is used inside the patient’s body.

Equipment failures may not be caused by medical devices that are defective. In some cases, the devices fail because the doctors, nurses, or their staff makes a mistake in how they use them. For instance, they may misuse the system to track the patient’s medical or prescription records, or they may fail to ensure that equipment is properly maintained and in working order before using it.

Proper Use of Medical Equipment Is Part of Reasonable Care

How doctors use medical equipment is part of their obligation to act reasonably under the circumstances. Doctors must do things like properly sterilizing equipment and use diagnostic equipment properly. This is what a doctor with ordinary training and skill would do in treating a patient.

Healthcare providers should have advanced medical equipment to treat patients, but they should also be trained in using and maintaining it. This is part of their basic medical obligations to their patients. Medical malpractice cases involve the patient treatment experiences, and not just the surgery or medical treatment procedure itself. This begins from the instant that the doctor treats the patient and continues all the way through the treatment.

Determining Liability When Medical Equipment Fails

Part of the challenge in these cases is figuring out who was to blame for the failure of the medical equipment. In some cases, it may be that the equipment itself was defective from the start, and the injured patient can file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. In other cases, the doctor may have used the equipment in the wrong way, giving rise to a medical malpractice claim.