Medtronic Defibrillator continue to fail despite massive settlements. Medtronic, Inc., a company renowned for designing and manufacturing medical devices, continues to recall defibrillators even though the company settled defibrillator litigation several years ago. Medtronic issued a recall notice for a defibrillator it set to market with defective components that could cause heart attack, stroke, and blood clotting. Patients who receive these faulty devices should contact their physician to inquire what should be done to protect their health and well-being.
Parker Waichman LLP is a national law firm whose lawyers vigorously pursue damages on behalf of their clients. If you, or someone in your family, has suffered adverse effects from a faulty defibrillatorincluding personal injuries or death, whether manufactured by Medtronic or another company, Parker Waichman LLP can help you recover financial compensation for you or your loved one’s injuries or death.
$268 Million Settlement
Medtronic settled a massive product liability lawsuit in 2010 for $268 million, according to the Star Tribune.The litigation stemmed from a 2007 product recall initiated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA issued the recall because Medtronic’s defibrillator called “Sprint Fidelis” killed 13 and injured thousands more. The injured people and the families of the deceased commenced a lawsuit to recover damages for their losses.
The settlement ended approximately 8,100 cases in which people who received Medtronic’s defective pacemakers claimed an injury or death. The amounts each plaintiff recovered from the settlement varied depending on the damagesalleged. Therefore, the settlementfunds were not divided evenly among the claimants. A retired judge determined how much each plaintiff should receive from the settlement. Also, the retired judge allocated an undisclosed sum for future plaintiffs should others come forward with claims once the litigation ended.
The defective devices were hazardous. Four of the 13 people who died from the having the faulty pacemaker died during extraction surgery. The surgery to remove the device was very dangerous. The faulty electronic leads which were implantedin the patient’s heart could cause scar tissue to form when the leads would shock the wearer even though the patient’s heart did not require a pulse at that time due to a break in the lead. Alternatively, the defibrillator would just stop working. These malfunctionscreate an extremely treacherous situation for the patient who desperately required the assistance of a device to maintain the proper heartbeat rhythm. Medtronic sold nearly 235,000 of these units and recalled them all.
At least one victim, according to the Star Tribune, said that she would have no idea when she might get shocked. The electrical pulse would be painful and uncomfortable. The patient reported that she received over 50 violent shocks caused by the broken wires. She lived in fear and great discomfort because of Medtronic’s faulty design and manufacturing process.The patient had the broken lead removed. However, she indicated that her life never returned to normal as a result of the fear she experienced and the pain she suffered because of the damaged wiring.
The plaintiffs in the suit were fortunate to receive a settlement. A 2008 United States Supreme Court decision almost permanently derailed any opportunity for victims to seek redress of their wrongs unless they met a nearly insurmountable legal standard. The case involved the estate of a deceased victim who died from a defective Medtronic pacemaker. The family brought the lawsuit in court and demanded damages for common law claims established by New York law.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied the estate relief under New York common law. In short, the highest court in the land ruled that the federal statutory law “pre-empted” New York state common law. The plaintiffs argued for application of New York law because it provided a more significant opportunity to hold Medtronic liable for its wrongdoing under claims such as negligence and strict liability for a defective product. The Supreme Court ruled that the device in question fell under the FDA’s control which is governed by federal law. Therefore, the plaintiffs had to prove that the relevant statutes controlled Medtronic’s liability.
Notwithstanding this precedent which some judges cited as authority to dismiss other lawsuits, Medtronic agreed to settle the cases. The settlement allowed the company to “put the case behind them. In other words, the settlement was not a recognition of wrongdoing on their part but was a good business decision on their part.
Medtronic Continues to Recall Dangerous Defective Products from the Market
In 2013, Medtronic, Inc. issued a recall of its“Interventional wires and Attain Hybrid Guide Wires.” Medtronic recalled these products because it received complaints that coating on the wire could fall apart and expose the live wire directly to the patient’s flesh. Medtronic warned that this problem could cause an occlusion, or blockage of an artery or vein, to form. Medtronic also cautioned that thrombosis, or blood clots, could form. Medtronic advised that the blood clots could develop in the brain, heart, lungs, and outer arteries or veins. A blood clot in any of these areas could cause “irreversible damage” to any organ in which an occlusion or thrombosis develops leading to incapacitation and death.
In May of 2017, another Medtronic defibrillator was the subject of an FDA recall. This product was manufactured by a company that Medtronic purchased. This device is designed to assist a failing heart pump blood from the heart’s left ventricle. Patients who use this product are typically experiencing heart failure and are awaiting a heart transplant. This recall is required because the lines connecting the pump to an external warning device could corrode thereby preventing the alarm from sounding when needed. Such a condition could cause the death of the patient.
The Urgency behind the Recalls
People rely on Medtronic’s medical devices to save, prolong, or help make their lives livable. Medtronic’s repeated recalls are serious, which, if ignored could kill or maim the patient. People who need these devices suffer from:
- bradycardia, which is a slow heartbeat caused by an interruption in the electrical signal traveling through the heart,
- heart block, which is a disruption of the electrical signals in the heart,
- degenerative heart disease that alters the speed of a patient’s heartbeat intermittently from slow to fast,
- damage to the heart from a heart attack because the heart’s electrical signal becomes blocked or altered in some way,
- Atrial fibrillation,
- Long QT syndrome,
- a slow heartbeat that causes a person to faint due to over-sensitivity of the arteries in the neck, and
- the heart needs resynchronization of the electrical signals.
Therefore, the patients who use these products have a compromised heart. Any interruption in the medical intervention could kill them or causesevere disability.
Amount of Damages Claimants Recover
The amount of damages a claimant might recover depends on many factors. Those factors include:
- the nature of the injury such as death or permanent disability,
- medical expenses,
- future medical expenses,
- lost wages,
- loss of economic advantage, and
- pain and suffering.
Every case is unique because every person’s situation is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all resolution to these cases.
We Are Here To Help You Regarding Medtronic Defibrillator
Call Parker Waichman LLP to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your defective medical device claim, or more convenient you can fill out our online form. There is a strict statute of limitations on claims for faulty medical devices. Therefore, you must call Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) and speak with one of our experienced defective medical device lawyers about your rights.
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