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Documentary shines light on dangers of medical devices

We attribute much of our society's medical success to advances in medical technology. New devices and testing procedures allow medical professionals to more quickly and accurately diagnose injuries and illnesses, as well as treat them more effectively. However, despite the success of many of these devices, others pose a serious threat to patients whether due to lack of testing or doctors whose decisions to use such devices are swayed by seemingly improper incentives.

This is the focus of a new documentary on Netflix called "The Bleeding Edge." The film takes a close look at five individuals who essentially became test subjects when doctors recommended the use of medical devices apparently without a strong understanding of their risks. One subject of the film, an orthopedic surgeon, had a hip implant that ended up destroying the tissue surround the joint after the device broke down and disintegrated. Another individual in the film had vaginal mesh fuse with her surrounding organs requiring surgical removal.

One reason that these instances occur is because the FDA is more lax in the regulation of medical devices than it is medications and foods. Making matters worse is a recent push to get these devices to market even faster, thereby reducing regulations even further. In theory, this could lead to even more dangerous medical devices entering the marketplace.

However, these medical devices, and even those that are considered safe, can be misused by medical professionals. When this type of negligence occurs and patients are harmed, then a medical malpractice claim may be justified. Those who are able to succeed on these types of claims may be awarded compensation for their damages, including medical expenses and lost wages. It is hoped that such a recovery will allow a victim to have the financial resources while he or she focuses on reclaiming his or her health. The medical malpractice lawsuit process isn't easy, though, which is why many Louisiana residents turn to qualified legal professionals for assistance.

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