5 Potentially Defective Medical Products

Updated on March 9, 2021

Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

As you get older, it’s more likely you’ll need various medical products. Seniors often need mobility help, and they may also require assistance as their hearing or vision deteriorates. Many devices exist that can help older adults live their lives comfortably.

However, you need to watch out for defective products. There are recalls every year, and frequently there are class action lawsuits if a medical device doesn’t perform as it’s supposed to. Let’s look at a few medical devices that might not always work as well as the manufacturer intended.

Ear Plugs

Seniors can use earplugs for various reasons, while younger people might use them as well. A senior citizen might put them in at night because their partner snores, and they can’t sleep without them. A younger person might wear earplugs to a concert if they know they will be close to the stage.

Recently, the federal government filed a lawsuit against the earplug company 3M for their Combat Arms Earplugs. The Minnesota-based company had to settle with the government for $9.1 million. They sued because many military members developed hearing problems or even went deaf after using those earplugs in combat situations. In fact, even a product liability attorney using confirms that defective or unsafe products have higher chances of causing severe injuries or even deaths.

This is definitely an extreme example, but it just goes to show you that even though a product makes it to market, that doesn’t always mean it’s one hundred percent safe.

Hearing Aids

Some older adults start to lose their hearing, and if they do, they can look into getting hearing aids. Hearing aids can help them communicate with their family and friends again, and they can better hear the TV or music as well.

You do sometimes hear about hearing aids not working as well as they should. If a hearing aid doesn’t work, it probably won’t harm you, like what happened with the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs. 

Still, you should check out the warranty before you buy the hearing aid, and you may also want to read some of the reviews to see if you’re getting one from a reputable brand.


Wheelchairs used to be rather primitive. These days, though, you can find motorized ones that work remarkably well. You can also get the old-fashioned kind you move by using your hands to spin the wheels.

Since there are so many wheelchair brands on the market now, you might not know which one to pick. You may have some cheaper ones that don’t work as well, and the components might break down relatively quickly. If it happens, you may have to replace that part or even the entire chair.

You can talk to your doctor about which chair they recommend. If you have friends with reduced mobility, you can speak to them too. If you have Medicare, that might pay for your wheelchair or at least a significant part of the cost.

Warming Blankets

If you’re an older adult, and you find you get cold in the winter, you might buy yourself a warming blanket. These blankets usually have an electrical element. You plug the blanket in, and after a while, it’s ready for you to use. Some of them are also battery-powered.

If you purchase one that works well, you might be able to use it for years with no issues. They don’t last forever, but you can eventually just get a replacement.

However, you might run into one that doesn’t just stop working. It may give you a painful electric shock or even catch on fire. It’s unusual, but you sometimes hear about such things.

Hip or Knee Replacements

Older adults also sometimes find they want to have knee or hip-replacement surgery. You can get a metal-on-metal component that can improve your mobility significantly. There might be some recovery time, but the surgery is generally not as invasive as you might imagine.

If you have a defective steel hip or knee, and it breaks down, that can cause you serious issues. You can develop an infection, or you might fall and severely injure yourself if it gives out unexpectedly.

If you encounter a defective medical device or product at any time, you might be able to sue the manufacturer. You’ll first need to hire a lawyer and see if there are any class action lawsuits taking place. If there is one, you might join it, or you may file your own lawsuit instead.

If something makes it to market, it should work properly, and if it fails and hurts you, you should demand compensation for that.


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