Tens of thousands of patients are stuck in the difficult situation of hearing about a defective medical device — such as a hip implant, knee implant — but not knowing which product they had implanted during a recent surgery. When a medical device is recalled, how should patients react? And how can they find out which implant is inside of them?
Beginning in 2014, some medical devices used in the United States will begin to carry a unique device identifier (UDI) that will allow patients, health care providers, manufacturers and federal regulators to track each device. With the new program, problems could be identified more quickly and recalled products could be tracked down and handled efficiently. Patients could rest more securely because they would be able to identify which product was used in their surgery. Patient information would not be attached to the UDI. By 2018 or thereafter, every medical device could be required to carry a UDI.
For now, patients who have a problematic implant should first try to secure their medical records. If that doesn’t work, a qualified attorney can provide counsel.