Pennsylvania doctors must place the safety of their patients first. This means that they must keep current on all pertinent medical information in their area expertise, and especially for the medications and medical devices that they rely on in the care of their patients. Failure to do so can lead to doctor errors that can have real life consequences for their patients.
Such was the case of a man who went to a doctor to have shoulder surgery. The doctor inserted a pain pump that was to continually inject an anesthesia into his shoulder joint. However, the pain pump was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this purpose. In fact, doing so was known to be dangerous by the medical device manufacturer, and it was warned against in the device's updated instructions.
Relying on information about the uses of the pain pump from the sales rep, the doctor says that he did not know that the purpose he was using it for was not approved by the FDA. He says that if he knew it was harmful he would not have used it.
This doctor is basically saying that he can make a mistake and use a medical device for a purpose other than for which it was intended if he simply did not know it was harmful. Unfortunately, in this case, it is the patient who paid the price for this doctor's error.
Pennsylvania doctors must keep abreast of any new changes regarding medications and medical devices they intend to use in their practice. Pharmaceutical discoveries change every day. Doctors must keep up with these changes or else they will place their patient's health in jeopardy.
Source: American Medical News, "Changes in medical device information pose lawsuit risks for doctors," Alicia Gallegos, Dec. 19, 2011