A few years ago, 3D printing became a futuristic breakthrough which appeared to have an unlimited potential for manufacturing and other industries. Now, the future is here, and healthcare is one of the fields in which professionals are using 3D printing to create models and devices of their own.
As 3D printing becomes more accessible, it will also present significant liability questions for those injured by these devices. As of right now, applying product liability principals to doctors and hospitals who print their own custom 3D medical devices may be quite difficult.
When it comes to strict liability - in regards to defective products - the manufacturer is liable for any defects. However, since doctors and hospitals are considered consumers or users of a product, they are protected from being sued for strict liability.
On the other hand, injuries caused by defective devices which are 3D-printed by doctors and hospitals are subject to a simple negligence cause of action. Negligence is a fault-based doctrine and much more difficult to prove than strict liability. Victims need to have evidence to establish a breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Furthermore, injured patients may also file a medical malpractice claim if a doctor or hospital recommends or supervises the use of a defective 3D product. If the 3D device was improperly used by the doctor or hospital, there is evidence of inadequate training for the use of the device, or if a healthcare professional fails to inform you of the risks associated with the 3D device, then you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit.