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What Caregivers Should Know About Medical Devices

What Caregivers Should Know About Medical Devices

Caregivers help people with all kinds of health challenges.

Many of them end up caring for seniors who develop mobility issues as they age and may require joint replacement. Obesity and arthritis are common ailments that lead to these mobility issues, which limit seniors’ ability to complete everyday tasks.

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, and mobility issues are very common in people over the age of 65.

Caregivers who see people struggle with these conditions may also see the mental toll they take. When these ailments begin to seriously compromise a person’s quality of life, doctors often recommend medical devices like joint implants to help them get their lives back.

Before a medical device is used, it is important for patients and caregivers to do their research. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regularly posts information to alert consumers about medical devices risks and recalls.

Implants Fix Ailing Joints

A medical device is a product or equipment used to prevent, treat or cure a disease or condition.

Some of the most common medical devices are knee and hip implants, which replace weakened or diseased joints. These medical devices help relieve pain and give patients increased mobility.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans have joint replacement surgery, which means caregivers need to be familiar with the procedures and risks involved.

Flawed Hip Implants

Manufacturers continue to develop newer devices to make the surgeries more successful and to reduce the risk of complications. Researchers often come up with new designs or experiment with different materials to create stronger, more durable devices.

Sometimes, the devices that are meant to enhance a procedure end up causing more harm than good. Recent innovations in hip implants — specifically metal-on-metal designs — have come under fire for causing serious injuries.

Depuy Orthopaedics is at the center of many of these accusations. Some of their metal hips failed prematurely and caused metal poisoning. The problems stem from the design – a metal ball and a metal socket. When the two parts rub together, metal particles are released into the body.

Zimmer has also seen its share of complaints over its hip implants.

Other Dangerous Medical Devices

Other medical devices used by older Americans have also led to serious complications.

Transvaginal mesh implants — used to treat pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence in women, usually brought on by age, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause – can erode through tissues and even perforate organs.

Despite these serious problems, these medical devices have not been recalled by the FDA. Some  companies – including Bard and Ethicon – have removed some of their mesh products from the market.

Since transvaginal mesh can have dangerous side effects, it is important for patients and their caregivers to talk to doctors about solutions to these issues.

Jennifer Mesko is the managing editor of Drugwatch.com, a consumer advocacy website. She aims to keep the public informed about dangerous prescription drugs and defective medical devices.

Freedom Home Care is a senior in-home care provider in the Chicagoland area. We do our best to provide the tools and services necessary to keep our patients as happy and healthy as possible. Visit FreedomHomeCare.net to learn more.

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