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Top 7 Medical Device Questions for Your Doctor

Questions to ask your doctor when an implanted medical device is recommended

Making decisions regarding your medical care can sometimes be intimidating. When a doctor recommends an invasive procedure or medical device implant, it should be given a lot of thought. Before agreeing to any treatment plan, ask your doctor any questions that will help you understand the process.

Deciding to move forward with implanting any medical device comes with risks that have often only come to light after an injury has occurred. While federal and state laws help protect patients, the best thing you can do is research and know what’s needed before, during and after the procedure. Ultimately, you have the final say in regards to your medical treatment.

We’ve compiled some questions that you can ask in order to make an informed decision.

#1: How often have you performed this specific procedure using this specific device?

This question should be at the top of your list. Certain procedures can be part of the treatment for a completely different medical issue. Surgeons may have performed part of your procedure many times as part of something else, but only used the device or performed your specific procedure a handful of times. You should be confident in your doctor’s expertise before you agree to meet in the operating room.

#2: What has been your experience in regards to the long-term results after this procedure?

Your doctor’s response will tell you much about what you can expect. You’ll want to have a doctor who is confident in the positive results they have seen and know how their patients are doing months after their procedures.

#3: How long has this device been in use? What are the specific risks associated with using this particular device?

Using new devices and procedures is important in the medical field as advances are made. However, with advances in treatments, risks can be higher with new devices and procedures even if they have been fully tested and endorsed. It’s imperative that you and your doctor be on the same page before using a trusted treatment plan versus being on the forefront of new medicine.

#4: Do multiple companies manufacture this device? Why did you select one manufacturer over another? Has the manufacturer ever recalled this device?

These questions will help you understand how much your doctor knows about the recommended device. Additionally, doctors can be loyal to one manufacturer due to a positive long-term history or because of personal relationships with a sales representative. You don’t want these unethical relationships to affect which medical devices are recommended.

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#5: What are my options in regards to the timing of this procedure? Is there an advantage to moving forward now? What may I experience if I delay the procedure?

In some instances your day-to-day comfort is all that matters when agreeing to a procedure. If your condition will not worsen significantly in a short period of time and you want to do additional research or save funds for your out-of-pocket costs, you may make the decision to delay surgery.

However, if your condition will continue to worsen and a delay will cause additional risks or a more invasive procedure, you may decide to move forward as soon as possible.

#6: May I have my procedure recorded?

In general, people are often more careful when they know they are being recorded. Medical professionals are no different. If your doctor recommends against this, you should have them explain why. Think of how you would feel if your attorney didn’t want to provide you with information affecting a settlement or if you’d fully trust a caregiver with your child if they refused to get to know you or your child beforehand. Peace of mind is worth the conversation.

#7: What is the estimated cost of this procedure and device? Does my insurance cover it?

While your doctor may not know the details of costs and what is covered, they should be able to connect you with the person in the office who can discuss the financial impacts of the procedure.

If you’re facing a decision regarding the implantation of a medical device, be sure to do your homework. In addition to getting answers to the questions above, do some research online about your condition and the available treatments. Ask friends and acquaintances for their experiences with the doctor, hospital, condition and/or procedure. The more time you spend learning about your options, the more you reduce your risk.

If you’d like to learn more about your legal rights or if you have been injured by a medical device, please don’t hesitate to contact the Tennessee product liability lawyers at Gilreath & Associates for a free consultation.

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