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MN: Did New Injection Product Cause Injury?: Products Liability & Nurse Negligence Claim Denied.

CASE FACTS: A nurse employed by the Metropolitan Visiting Nurse Association (MVNA) administered a flu shot to Lynn Donovan using a Biojector 2000. The Biojector is a needle-free injection system that uses compressed carbon dioxide gas and sterile, disposable medication syringes to deliver medication into body tissues. Immediately after receiving the injection in her left arm, the patient felt a burning and stabbing pain. The following morning, her left arm began swelling, and a painful, golf-ball-sized lump developed on the arm. The patient has a lump about the "size of a quarter" on her left arm. She continues to experience a burning sensation with some movements, reduced sensation, and significant pain when she raises her left arm more than 90 degrees. The patient brought a suit against Bioject, Inc., manufacturer of the injection device, and MVNA alleging that the injury to the patient's arm resulted from the flu injection going too deep into a nerve. The trial court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed.

COURT'S OPINION: The Court of Appeals of Minnesota affirmed the judgment of the lower court. The court held, inter alia, that to establish a product liability claim based on strict liability, an injured party must show (1) the product was in a defective condition, unreasonably dangerous to the user, (2) the defect existed when the product left the manufacturer's control, and (3) causation. The plaintiff failed to identify any design defect in the Biojector 2000. The plaintiff presented no evidence that the specific Biojector used to inoculate the plaintiff was defective. The plaintiff submitted an affidavit by Joanne Gladden, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, opining that the nurse who administered the flu shot to the patient violated the applicable standard of care for inoculations by failing to give the patient sufficient information about the Biojector 2000. Nurse Gladden stated that when using a new inoculation method, a nurse should give a patient the choice between the new method and the time-tested needle injection method and should obtain the patient's informed consent before using the new method. To prove causation, the plaintiff was required to present evidence identifying a characteristic of the Biojector and relating that characteristic to the injury suffered. The court concluded that the lower court properly granted summary judgment in favor of both the manufacturer of the Biojector on the patient's product's liability claim as well as in favor of MVNA on the malpractice claim. Donovan v. Bioject, Inc., 2001 WL 243096 N.W.2d -MN

Meet the Editor & Publisher: A. David Tammelleo, JD, is a nationally recognized authority on health care law. Practicing law for nearly 40 years, he concentrates in health care law with the Providence. R.I., firm of A. David Tammelleo & Associates. He has presented seminars on medical, nursing and hospital law throughout the United States. In addition to his writings as Editor of Medical Law's, Nursing Law's & Hospital Law's Reagan Reports, his legal articles have been published in the most prestigious health law journals. A prolific writer, his thousands of articles, as well as his achievements as an attorney and lecturer, have won him recognition in Martindale-Hubbell's Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and Marquis Who's Who in American Law.
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Article Details
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Author:Tammelleo, A. David
Publication:Nursing Law's Regan Report
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2001
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