The 3D printing process entails building solid, three-dimensional objects
from digital models, using an additive process in which successive layers
of material are assembled on top of one another to build a product. As
3D printing becomes more commonplace, it presents several liability questions
for those injured by these products and devices.
But when a doctor or hospital prints the device at their own facility,
who is liable for any injuries caused by that device? As of right now,
applying product liability principals to doctors and hospitals printing
their own custom 3D medical devices may be difficult.
In strict liability cases, the manufacturer is responsible for product
defects no matter who was at fault. Since doctors and hospitals are considered
consumers or users of a product, and not manufacturers, they are shielded
from being held strictly liable.
The following are the legal options for pursuing a lawsuit against doctors
or hospitals who print defective 3D medical devices:
Negligence – Injuries caused by defective devices printed by doctors and hospitals
are subject to a simple negligent cause of action. However, negligence
is a fault-based doctrine and harder to prove compared to strict liability.
Victims must present evidence to prove breach of duty, causation, and
damages. The help of an expert witness can be difficult since 3D printing
technology is at its early stages of development.
Malpractice claims – If a doctor or hospital recommends or supervises the use of a defective
3D product, patients injured by the health care provider may file a
medical malpractice claim. Whether there is evidence of improper training for the use of the
device, when a procedure is performed incorrectly using a 3D product,
or there is a failure to inform the risks associated with the 3D product
can be handled through a medical malpractice claim.
If you were injured by a defective device 3D printed by doctors and hospitals,
contact our Louisville medical malpractice attorney at
Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC today.