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Current Report: March 2019

Intrauterine Device Risks and Liability Considerations


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Introduction

IUD Risks and Liabilities

Approximately 45% of all pregnancies that occur in the United States are unintended, resulting in increased risks for adverse maternal and infant health outcomes and increased health care costs.

 

It is estimated that 8% of women aged 15 to 44 use long-acting reversible contraception such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) or contraceptive implants to prevent unintended pregnancy. Even though failure rates are low for IUDs, an IUD may fail and pregnancy or injury may result.

 

IUD insertion and removal may result in injury, and complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, may occur. Injury or infection may be the result of medical negligence.

 

Manufacturers of IUDs also may face liability for IUD-related injuries. Product liability litigation may include, for example, allegations of defects in the device or inadequate warnings of the risks of the device.

 

Attorneys, physicians, insurers, employers, risk managers, manufacturers, and other potential parties to litigation need to understand the types of litigation issues that may arise in connection with patient injuries related to IUDs.


The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy

Attorneys:

What proof is needed for a claim arising from an injury related to a patient’s intrauterine device (IUD)? And, what is a potential strategy for the attorney to employ?

Physicians:

How can liability for medical malpractice be avoided for a physician or other health care provider’s action related to a patient’s injury involving an intrauterine device (IUD)? And, what is a potential strategy for the physician to employ?

Insurers:

Can a payout under a medical malpractice liability policy be avoided by proof that the health provider was not negligent or there was no coverage for the injury related to an intrauterine device (IUD)? And, what is a potential strategy for the insurer to employ?

Employers:

Can a health care facility be subject to vicarious liability as an employer for a patient’s injury related to an intrauterine device (IUD)? And, what is a potential strategy for the employer to use?

Risk Managers:

Can a risk manager prevent liability or mitigate damages for an injury related to an intrauterine device (IUD)? And, what is a potential strategy for the risk manager to use?


Practice the Technique: Checklists

Attorneys:

Check this list of facts and circumstances tending to show a provider’s liability for an injury related to an intrauterine device.

Physicians:

Presented is a checklist of items a physician must consider when defending against claims of malpractice or negligence involving an intrauterine device.

Insurers:

The insurer should check these “red flags” and inconsistencies when investigating a claim of malpractice or negligence involving an intrauterine device.

Employers:

Use this checklist to determine if a hospital or health facility employer may be held vicariously liable for the actions of an employee or agent, such as a physician or nurse practitioner.

Risk Managers:

Use this checklist to determine if the risk manager has identified and implemented all appropriate policies, practices, and procedures to avoid liability or mitigate damages for malpractice or negligence involving patient injury from an intrauterine device and whether all parties complied with these policies, practices, and procedures.

Expert Analysis

How Can the Exclusion of Expert Opinion Be Prevented in Actions Involving IUDs?

Jennifer R. Loyd, JD
Partner, Litchfield Cavo LLP

What Evidence Is Needed to Prove an IUD Product Liability Action?

Roopal P. Luhana, JD
Founder/Partner, Chaffin Luhana LLP


Litigation

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation may be required by contract or statute, may be mandated by the court or, in some circumstances, may be the appropriate method for a negotiated resolution.


Reasons to Reach Settlement

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, employer, or risk manager would want to reach settlement, and not take the action to trial.


Reasons to Go to Trial

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, employer, or risk manager would want to take the action to trial.


Jury Awards and Settlements

How much have juries awarded and what settlements have been reached recently in cases involving an IUD-related injury?



Medical Information

Intrauterine Devices

This section provides detailed medical information on intrauterine device (IUD) use, how IUDs work, effectiveness, STD prevention, patient eligibility for IUD use, patients contraindicated for IUD use, the types of IUDs, side effects and complications, insertion of an IUD, length of time an IUD may be used, and removal of IUDs. Also discussed is the patient’s ability to work with an IUD.



Law and Medicine Resources

Law and Medicine Resources

Provided is a listing of law and medical resources for further information on intrauterine devices.




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