Advances in medical technology – from electronic health records to ‘smart’ hospitals – are changing the way physicians deliver patient care. Innovative treatment and communication techniques are improving diagnostics and broadening patients’ access to medical information.

However, as with innovations in any industry, both practitioners and customers have a right to skepticism. This is where a medical malpractice law firm may come into play. While Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers steadfastly supports ­­­­­­­­­­­­advances in medical technology, it is our job to ensure patients are not harmed by experimental techniques, and to provide access to compensation for those who are.

Recently, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale of an implantable heart monitor developed by Medtronic PLC, a Minnesota-based medical device company. The Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM), the first generation of which was invented by Canadian physician George Klein, ‘wirelessly reads and transmits patient data to detect problems and help pinpoint causes of unexplained fainting and strokes,’ Minnesota’s Star Tribune newspaper reports.

The LINQ ICM is one in a series of miniaturized, implantable health devices that Medtronic has developed. Others include a “world’s smallest” Micra leadless pacemaker and the CoreValve aortic heart valve.

The emergence of these and similar miniature healthcare products is raising concerns among members of the healthcare community – and likely your medical malpractice law firm – who worry the technology is more novel than functional.

In a 2014 article for Medical Design entitled “The Truth Behind Miniaturization,” the authors write:

“The fact is smaller is not always necessary, or better. This constant push toward further miniaturization is misguided. We should alter our approach to ensure our focus is on appropriate sizing instead.”

Neinstein’s medical malpractice law firm certainly agrees with this statement. But Medtronic insists they are not pursuing “small for small’s sake” technology, but actively seeking ways to provide better therapy for patients. Director of technology Paul Gerrish has said the company’s goal is to make the devices “smaller and less invasive while providing the same or better therapy for patients.”

The Reveal LINQ ICM is inserted into the heart through a 1-millimeter incision – no surgery necessary. It wirelessly communicates patient information through a bedside monitor to the doctor, who can make a quick, accurate diagnosis. Importantly, the heart monitor also delivers daily data over three years, a big step up from older monitors that usually work for about 30 days.

“What we have found when we follow patients for 18 months is that 27 percent of them have atrial fibrillation detected on their monitors,” said Dr. James Allred, a North Carolina electrophysiologist. “The interesting thing is that from the time of implant to first detected episode of AFib is, on average, 50 days.”

If you or a member of your family has been injured while in the care of a medical facility, you should immediately seek out the help of a qualified medical malpractice law firm. Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers’ Medical Malpractice Group has years of experience helping injured Ontarians access compensation for their injuries.

Greg Neinstein