Defective Defibrillator Lawsuit

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In October of 2001, a Minnesotan teenager suffering from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which carries a high risk of sudden death due to ventricular fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) device implanted as a solution to his condition. The device was monitored regularly every three months at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, and no problems were detected.

Then, in mid-March 2005, this teenager died suddenly during a bicycling trip with his girlfriend during spring break. There was no clinically significant pathology found during his autopsy, other than massive hypertrophy at his left ventricle. The physicians of the teenager were shocked by his death. ICD devices have a proven history of success in preventing sudden deaths of young patients who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with no end-stage heart failure. Analysis of the teenager's ICD device, however, showed a defective defibrillator. The ICD device had short-circuited internally when trying to deliver high-voltage therapy. This had caused it to be permanently disabled, leaving the teenager at risk. Furthermore, there was no way of pinpointing the time of failure of the defective defibrillator, as its memory had been destroyed.

This is just one of the many cases where a defective defibrillator has caused a fatality because of internal fault. A defibrillator is a useful device for people whose natural pacemakers have malfunctioned, resulting in erratic signals to and from the heart. Arrhythmia or an erratic heartbeat causes the heart to pump less effectively, and puts the person at risk for a number of heart-related problems.

A defibrillator is a device that is implanted to correct this problem. It is commonly made of a pulse-generator with a sealed electronic circuit package and a lithium battery, one or two wires that conduct electrical signals to the heart and electrodes located on each lead; as more and more people seem to be needing these devices, the surgery to implant them has become a common procedure for surgeons to do.

The medical community has been rocked with controversy, however, as reports of a number of defective defibrillator devices began to surface. The controversy over the defective defibrillator devices further worsened when the manufactures decided to limit the knowledge and information available to the public about these defective devices. Worse, they continued to sell defective defibrillator devices that were part of the original batch that were found to be defective.

Today, there are more than 300 law suits against manufacturers of these defective defibrillator devices. Since June of 2006, a large number of individual and class action law suits have been filed, and more are being filed each year. Some plaintiffs have complained of insulation problems in the defective defibrillator device, which caused it to fail within five years of implantation. Others stated that faulty low-voltage capacitors caused the device to fail. The biggest risk of these devices is that they can fail at any time, leaving the person using the device vulnerable and unaware that the device has failed.

If you are one of the people who use an internal defibrillator, it would be in your best interest to have your device checked to see if it is one of the many defective defibrillator units that are facing legal controversies. Inform yourself of the legal remedies that can help you with your dilemma. By approaching a lawyer, you can be informed of the laws and other legalities that you have on your side. Make the companies who manufactured these defective defibrillator devices pay for their neglect and misrepresentation of their faulty products, and claim the financial support that is rightfully yours. Talk to a lawyer now and know your rights regarding defective defibrillator devices.