Patients with chronic heart conditions often rely on pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, often called ICDs or just a defibrillator, to regulate and monitor their heartbeat around the clock. When manufactured correctly, pacemakers and defibrillators fulfil a vital role in keeping someone alive and healthy. When manufactured incorrectly, the medical products may enter the market with serious defects that put patient health at risk at every moment.
At Kaiser Gornick, LLP, our San Francisco product liability attorneys are proud to say that we are at the forefront of litigation filed against medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers that negligently put dangerous products on the market for patient use. With more than 50 years of combined legal experience and multiple multimillion dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients, we have become the go-to name for hard-hitting and honest representation for patients around the country. If you believe your case deserves our caliber of service, which it certainly does, contact us at your earliest convenience.
Artificial pacemakers were first introduced to the public in 1958. Although the technology has advanced since then, including the creation of ICDs, safety standards have not changed with the times. Every year, thousands of Americans are diagnosed with serious heart conditions, and many are advised to use the latest pacemaker and defibrillator products, whether or not these have been thoroughly tested for defects. The end result may be doctors and physicians putting peoples’ lives in danger, unaware that a medical device manufacturer has released a defective product onto the market.
A dangerous pacemaker or defibrillator may experience the following defects:
False discharges: A defibrillator implanted under the skin is supposed to monitor the patient’s pulse. If it becomes irregular or stops, the medical device emits an electric charge to restart a healthy cycle. Defective defibrillators become dangerous when they emit false discharges, or electrical pulses when the patient’s heart is fine. The result can actually cause a heart attack due to forced irregular beats.
No discharge: A defibrillator that does not store electricity properly may not give any off any discharges when it detects a stopped pulse. There is virtually no way for a patient to know if their defibrillator has stopped storing charges correctly, so there is little they can do to prevent this defect from jeopardizing their lives in an emergency.
Failure to monitor: Pacemakers are meant to help the heart maintain a healthy heartbeat as well as monitor it for signs of danger. If something is wrong, some models will beep or flash to notify the patient and seek emergency medical attention. A defective pacemaker can completely fail to read a patient’s vitals, giving them a false sense of security when they could actually be on the verge of heart failure. Often times this is directly caused by the pacemaker to shut off inexplicably.
Inaccurate readings: Similar to failure to give out any reading, a defective pacemaker can report inaccurate information about the patient’s heartbeat. While this might not let them know they are having a heart attack, it can actually induce them through a dangerous placebo effect it if it falsely reads that they are having a heart failure; patients may panic at the false readings and actually suffer a real heart attack due to it.
Defective pacemakers and defibrillators are not an uncommon concern being exaggerated. There are numerous incidents within recent years of these medical devices failing and causing harm, and even death. In 2012, Boston Scientific concluded that its Cognis and Teligen defibrillators had a defect that could rapidly deplete the device’s battery, which resulted in the death of one individual; in 2013, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration warned that the Consulta Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Pacemaker by Medtronic Australia could fail and cause fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling, and other dangerous symptoms; and in 2014, the FDA recalled tens of thousands of automated external defibrillators (AED) after they concluded that manufacturing defects could lead to failures and fatalities.
If you or a loved one has been hurt due to a defective pacemaker or defibrillator, your opposition in your resulting lawsuit could be a major medical device manufacturer. You can retain Kaiser Gornick, LLP and our San Francisco defective product lawyers to help build your case and stand up to large corporations that have hurt you. Call us at DEMO_NUMBER today to set up a free consultation with our staff.