The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating possible defects in power cords used with medical devices from at least two companies, Reuters reported Oct. 19. Abbott Nutrition, a division of Abbott Laboratories Inc., and Hospira Inc., have reported 122 incidents of fires, sparks or charring from power cords used with their devices, which include infusion pumps and adult feeding tubes. This can expose users and health care professionals to injury or even death from shocks, fires, and failure of the device while in use. The FDA is warning hospitals and home users of devices to keep an eye on wear and tear on power cords, and stop using cords with visible damage. It also asked users to report any incidents of sparking, charring or fires.
All of the incident reports the FDA has received are about cords manufactured by Electri-Cord Manufacturing Corp. All of the implicated cords use a black plastic “bridge” connecting the plug’s prongs. The two medical device manufacturers, Abbott and Hospira, found that the prongs may fail or crack, either outside the cord or just inside the plastic covering of the plug. The cords have been supplied to other manufacturers of medical devices as well, and the FDA is tracing the cords to determine where else they may be. The problem has already sparked a recall from Hospira; the company initiated a voluntary recall in August, the same month it received a letter from the FDA criticizing its response to the power cord problem. A spokesman for Electri-Cord denied that defects are the problem, suggesting that most cords involved in reported incidents showed signs of “significant abuse.”
I don’t doubt that cords involved in fires, sparking or charring might look abused. However, as a defective medical device attorney, I applaud the FDA’s recall effort, which I hope will prevent further incidents that could seriously hurt someone. Defective cords on any device can be very dangerous because they can electrocute their users or start a fire. (In fact, defective wiring is among the most common causes of house fires.) This may be especially true in hospitals, where doctors routinely use highly flammable pure oxygen during surgery. But on a medical device that patients depend on for nutrition, medicine or other essential needs, faulty wiring can also have serious medical consequences unrelated to a fire or shock. If the device fails, temporarily or permanently, the patient can be deprived of its life-saving effects — which can be at least as deadly as a fire.


The pharmaceutical liability attorneys at the Lowe Law Firm represent people who lost a loved one or were seriously hurt by problems with a medication or medical device. Patients, who generally do not have the medical training to evaluate a therapy on their own, should be able to trust the safety of the drugs and devices their doctors give them. When they are betrayed, they have a legal right to hold the manufacturers of the faulty products legally responsible for their actions. Our medical device defect lawyers represent clients who have suffered a wrongful death in the family or serious damage to their health because of a manufacturer’s negligence. In a lawsuit, we can help clients secure the money they need to treat the damage the bad therapy caused, and compensate them for the financial and personal losses they suffered.
Carey, Danis & Lowe represents people from across the United States and offers free consultations — so you can learn more at no cost or obligation to you. To set up a free, confidential consultation, please send us a message through our Web site or call 1-877-678-3400 toll-free from anywhere in America.