Pain Panacea or Problem? A Look at Spinal Cord Stimulators
If you are a victim of agonizing pain, you want one thing: relief. While opioids have been the go-to treatment for the past decade, recent statistics related to addiction and other long-term issues have made many patients and their doctors leery of such medications. New pain interventions are surging into the marketplace, bringing hope to those whose chronic pain has been debilitating. But what if the treatment makes you sicker than you were to start with? In that case, you may find it useful to discuss your situation with a local personal injury attorney.
Innovations in Pain Management
One of the latest and most highly touted treatments for pain management, especially for older patients, are spinal cord stimulators. By sending electrical currents to the brain, they intervene against pain signals, relieving what was formerly unbearable pain. Unfortunately, not all patients have experienced such miraculous success. In fact, more and more issues have been documented with these devices over time.
What we Know
Manufacturers point to the over 60,000 device implants annually as evidence of a safe, effective product. The specialists who have been trained to place them in the human body attest to the satisfaction of patients who had previously been immobilized by pain. Even so, thousands of patients report devastating effects from these shocking devices, and the USDA backs them up. It seems there have been over 80,000 injuries associated with spinal cord stimulators in the past decade. That makes these devices the third most dangerous medical device in the country, coming in behind only hip replacements and insulin pumps. What sorts of side-effects have been suffered by patients relying on these stimulators?
- Serious burns;
- Damage to nerves;
- Weakened muscles;
- Severe and unrelenting shocks;
- Suspected fatalities.
The FDA has approved the use of spinal cord stimulators in patients who report substantial pain issues. However, their approval came after only minimal efforts in terms of clinical testing. According to global medical partners tasked with investigating FDA approvals of medical devices, Americans face serious risks when the approval process is rushed. And after a device is approved, removing it from the market is an onerous task, that can take as long as several years. Even when products have links to serious side effects and death, it is difficult to pull them off of hospital shelves. Why is that, you might wonder? Some suspect that the millions, and even billions of dollars spent lobbying the medical industry and physicians is to blame. The efforts to reduce regulations are shocking for some people to learn: just four spinal cord stimulator manufacturers spent upwards of $23 million in just two years, working to influence laws and revise codes that impact their businesses. Doctors and hospitals are routinely given financial incentives to use their products. Is it any wonder decisions may not always be made in the best interests of patients?
Your Health is Number One
At the Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., your health is our number one concern. If you have suffered serious effects after the implantation of a spinal cord stimulator, your medical bills, not to mention your mental and physical health, have all been impacted. Our experienced Kissimmee personal injury attorneys will investigate your circumstances and recommend ways to address your situation. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.