When Doctors and Pharmaceutical Companies Go Wrong
When a serious illness puts a person’s life on the line the only source of salvation that may come to that person’s mind may be a doctor. A doctor, who is well trained and deeply knowledgeable about the human body and health, and who can have access to so many of the technological advances in the field of medicine, would only naturally be thought of as definitely capable of providing the needed effective treatment for any type of illness. Reality, however, clearly shows that this is not the case; and rather than just a big number of doctors causing new health problems than providing medical solutions, it is obvious that there is another source of problem, something bigger than doctors that the government and the medical community need to be aware of – the pharmaceutical firms.
More than 750,000 deaths due to poor medical care are recorded in the US every year. These include millions of: unnecessary prescriptions; people being subjected to surgical procedures which are actually not needed; and, people being confined in hospitals despite the lack of absence or need for it.
Though such are clearly doctor errors, there are more cases recorded, which involve adverse effects of prescription drugs or medical devices. These are usually due to drugs that have not been fully tested, yet are claimed safe and effective by their manufacturers.
One specific device, which is manufactured by the American company Intuitive Surgical Inc. and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in the year 2000, is the da Vinci Surgical System, a multi-armed robotic surgical equipment designed to help surgeons perform minimally-invasive surgical procedures easily, fast and accurately.
This robotic surgical equipment gained immediate success not only in the US but in Europe and Asia as well and the only thing holding back many other hospitals from acquiring it is the unit’s more than $1 million cost.
The da Vinci Surgical device requires very small (multiple) incisions, about 1-2 cm, compared to the 5 – 7 inches long or even 12 inches long (depending on the type of surgery to be performed) incision that an open surgery requires. And with very tiny openings, this could only mean fast-healing wounds, much shorter recovery time, very little loss of blood, and much lesser pain.
Not very long after the device’s use, however, reports of injuries and deaths began to be linked to it. These reports also made mention of device malfunction, internal scarring, injury to tissues or organs, doctors’ lack of experience in properly operating the device, and so forth.
Many lawsuits have already been filed against the da Vinci’s manufacturer, including those by families of patients who have already died even some years after the device was used on them. According to the website of the National Injury Law Center, there are injuries and deaths that may have possible links to the da Vinci surgical device, considering that it has been used in thousands of procedures on prostate removal and hysterectomies alone.
The da Vinci Surgical System is not the only problem that authorities should worry about, though, for millions more also get injured or die every year due to the use of prescription drugs. According to the website of law firm Williams Kherkher, three of these drugs, which are the basis of many lawsuits in various US courts, are Actos, Depakote, and Risperdal.
Actos (also called Pioglitazone), is an oral drug for Type 2 diabetes patients. It helps increase patients’ sensitivity to insulin as well as helps them control their blood sugar level. Within 10 years after it acquired the FDA’s approval in 1999, the drug became one of the most prescribed medications in the US, simultaneously gaining recognition in France and Germany. But studies and actual cases revealed Actos’ real effects, which included risk of heart failure, liver failure, tract infection, upper respiratory infection, macular edema, lactic acidosis, diarrhea, muscle pain and death.
Depakote and Risperdal, on the other hand, were approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder. While Depakote was formulated to lessen or totally prevent severe epileptic seizures, to treat manic episodes linked to bipolar disorder and to prevent attacks of migraine, Risperdal was prepared as effective treatment for the symptoms of autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Though both drugs seemed totally safe for some time, both, like Actos, also began to be linked to serious side-effects. For Depakote, the reported side-effects included pancreatitis, liver toxicity, confusion, unusual bruising or bleeding, and the risk of delivering a dead child or a child with a birth defect. For Risperdal, the effects were: stroke or stroke-like occurrences; Tardive Dyskinesia, a disorder in the central nervous system that results to uncontrolled movements of the limbs and twitching of the tongue and face; Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), a potentially deadly disorder that is characterized by irregularity in one’s pulse and blood pressure; and, death.
The right of patients (or their families) to file a personal injury lawsuit for the possible compensation that they may be legally entitled to receive. Both law firms also recommend the hiring of a seasoned lawyer, who will help the victim receive no less than the full amount of compensation that he or she is legally entitled to.