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Know your rights after dealing with a defective nebulizer

When you need to take medications with the aid of a medical device, the last thing you want to find out is that it's not working or that it does not work as it is supposed to.

For people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis or other lung conditions, a nebulizer is a common medical tool. It forces air through a small rubber tube and into a mouthpiece filled with medications. The medications are then broken up by the ultrasonic waves of compressed air. Medications become aerosol droplets, which then can be inhaled.

If, for any reason, the nebulizer is not working correctly, it can cause problems. It may deliver the medications too quickly, could deliver them too slowly or fail to work completely. If the compressor fails in an emergency, a patient could face life-threatening consequences.

What can patients do if a nebulizer is not working correctly?

Most patients who need this tool know that there is a risk of acute lung trouble and have back-up medications and emergency equipment on hand. Use those until you can return your defective nebulizer or have it repaired. Certain parts of these devices, like the mouthpiece and tubing, might be defective and have cracks or holes. If that's the case, you'll need to reach out to the medical device company for new parts.

If your nebulizer is defective, either because of damage or problems with the parts that were included, you could face significant medical problems. Always take the device out of its box when you receive it, put it together, and run one test to make sure it's running at the right speed.

One other thing about these devices to keep in mind is that they can heat up. The compressor and fan may need to be cleaned regularly to prevent dust or buildup from halting the device.

What should you do if you suffer injuries as a result of a defective device?

Let the medical team know that your device was not working correctly. Someone at the hospital may be able to take a look at it to identify if it is or is not assembled correctly. If it is but is not working, you should reach out to the medical device provider, the manufacturer, your attorney and others who can help you understand why the device is not working and what you can do to make sure your medical costs and losses are paid for.

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