A new study by Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is raising new questions about the safety of medical devices in children. Congress should respond by passing legislation restoring the right to hold medical device manufacturers accountable in state court when they manufacture defective products.
Pediatrics found that over 70,000 children and teens go to emergency rooms annually for injuries and complications from medical devices. As a result of the 2008 Supreme Court decision in Riegel v. Medtronic, certain medical device manufacturers now have total immunity from liability. These manufacturers now have no financial incentive to either produce safe products, or recall unsafe devices, leaving thousands of Americans at risk. The Pediatrics study reported that the percentage of injuries attributable these types of devices is small, but the injuries tend to be the most serious and expensive to treat. They include many catheters, pacemakers and artificial joints.
The Medical Device Safety Act ("MDSA"), is a pending bipartisan bill, designed to reverse the devastating impact of the Riegel decision. The legislation is simple – the bill in its entirety runs less than two pages in length. Passage of the MDSA will restore the long-standing right of injured consumers to hold negligent medical device manufacturers accountable when their products cause injury and death. Learn more about the MDSA, and the patients it would help, by watching AFJ’s short documentary film, Hit and Run.
Medical device companies are lobbying hard to stop the MDSA, and have succeeded in stalling any committee action. With Pediatrics documenting so many potentially serious injuries of implantable devices, it's imperative that Congress restore the rights to the young victims' families and pass the MDSA without further unwarranted delay.