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Medical devices are critical for helping West Virginia patients maintain a positive quality of life in the midst of their ailments. However, defective medical devices may end up costing people their health and even their lives — the very things they were intended to protect. Patients may be interested to learn that the Food and Drug Administration has mandated that a new device identification system be in place by the year 2020.

This device identification initiative was rolled out in September of this year. It is basically a unique bar code that is able to be easily recalled when necessary. This will help medical professionals keep patients informed of any updates regarding devices doctors have implanted in their bodies.

The move toward the device identification system may help to address concerns over the current process for tracking particular implanted medical devices, which is considered to be time-consuming, dangerous and costly. This is especially true in cases in which products are being recalled. Right now, a whopping 99 percent of product recalls are manually handled, meaning that hospital employees have to type numbers into a system, which can result in human error, often leading to lost devices and oversights.

Being able to more effectively track implanted medical devices in the near future may help to save lives in the instance of a product recall. Unfortunately, sometimes defective medical devices are caught only after they have already caused harm to a patient. In such a case, a victim who has been injured by a device has the right to file a suit against the device manufacturer with a West Virginia court, pursuing damages that may help with any losses suffered as a result of the use of the device.

Source: medcitynews.com, “As recalls increase, hospitals should embrace medical device tracking“, Dan Verel, Dec. 5, 2014