Clark, Love & Hutson, GP

Investigation finds spinal-cord stimulators can be defective

Medical device companies have often promoted the use of spinal-cord stimulators to treat a litany of pain disorders. Considering our nation's opioid crisis, they may seem like a viable option for some Texans. They work by sending electrical currents throughout the spine via a battery that is implanted under the patient's skin and are controlled via an external remote control.

However, a recent Associated Press investigation has reported that spinal-cord stimulators often cause more harm than good. In fact, spinal-cord stimulators rank number three in types of medical devices that cause injuries. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that there have been at least 80,000 spinal-cord stimulator injuries since 2008.

Some victims are shocked or burned by the defective medical devices. Others experience muscle weakness or even paralysis. Unfortunately, many spinal-cord stimulators receive regulatory approval without undergoing many clinical tests, and according to the investigation the FDA does not always act promptly in response to forcing manufacturers to fix defects. In fact, the AP investigation found that the FDA approved certain spinal-cord stimulators to be sold to patients based only on studies of older models of spinal-cord stimulators.

Spinal-cord stimulators are meant to ease pain, but unfortunately, some find that using one worsens their condition. When that happens, a person may want to determine if it's possible to pursue defective medical device litigation. No one's pain should be made worse by the very product meant to alleviate it. It is important to hold manufacturers of defective medical devices accountable, so that future patients are not harmed by these dangerous products.

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