Rosemary Rubin


One particular area of product liability, however, has been slow to accept strict liability. In the field of medical devices and equipment the courts seem reluctant to find liability without a clear showing of negligence, whether the defendant is the doctor, the hospital, or the manufacturer of the product. In this paper the focus will be on the emerging law in this area regarding medical equipment made only for use by experts, including nurses, doctors, dentists, anesthesiologists, emergency personnel and hospitals. The discussion will exclude blood and drug cases for these lead to conclusions of their own. The concentration will instead be on needles, scalpels, intermedulary pins, pacemakers, X-ray equipment, and other hospital machines used for the care of patients. Such equipment, by its very nature, is complex and beyond the scope of the layman's ability to use. This creates problems of privity since the injured party is almost never the buyer of the product in any sense. The warnings and warranties involved with such products, since they extend only to the experts who are often expected to know how to use these products, also create problems in interpretation for the courts.

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