Relatives of a Bend man who died in 2010 while using an inversion therapy table have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Eugene against the Washington-based manufacturer of the table, according to a recent article in The Oregonian.
According to the newspaper, the lawsuit alleges that the 64-year-old Oregon man “was using the table when he became trapped in the inverted position and was unable to return to the upright position or to remove himself from the machine.” The manufacturer “promotes the product on TV and online as a way to relieve back pain, improve joint health and build muscle tone,” the paper reports.
The Oregonian cites a representative from the Oregon Medical Examiner’s Office reporting that the man died from asphyxia. The coroner ruled the death accidental, but this suit raises important product safety issues. The suit alleges that the victim was unable to get himself back into the upright position despite “effort over a prolonged period” to do so.
It might seem obvious that any potentially dangerous product, such as an inversion table, should have safety features built in to prevent this exact situation. When users following the product’s directions still run the risk of serious injury or even death any reasonable person has to ask whether why necessary safety precautions were not included with a particular product. When purchasing such a product – especially one that is promoted as a way to improve one’s health – customers have every right to expect that it has been manufactured with the user’s safety in mind.
As a Portland unsafe products attorney cases like this make me both sad and angry. Sad that our legal system is still needed to protect consumers from dangerous products. Angry that these dangerous products are somehow still able to find their way to customers despite a lack of adequate safety measures, and despite our consumer protection laws. It is good to know that the courts are here to help victims and their loved ones in the wake of regrettable – and easily preventable – deaths like this one.