NEW YORK, May 26, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Manhattan personal injury firm Weitz & Luxenberg is seeking to help patients injured by malfunctioning defibrillators manufactured by Guidant Corporation and Medtronic Inc.
It is alleged that despite knowing that the device contained
a flaw that could cause a short-circuit, Guidant did not
tell doctors or the 24,000 people implanted with its defibrillator about the problem for three years. The defibrillator, a Ventak Prizm 2 Model 1861, has reportedly been linked to at least 26 short-circuiting incidences, including the death of a 21-year-old cardiac patient. Doctors say that if they had been notified of the flaw earlier, they would have replaced the patient’s device, possibly saving his life.
Similarly, in February 2005, Medtronic Inc. informed doctors that a battery used in one of its models was draining much faster than it should have, affecting about 87,000 devices. No deaths or injuries have been associated with Medtronic’s devices, but Medtronic warned that the battery problem could get worse over time, causing concern in .2 percent to 1.5 percent of its units. Since Medtronic’s announcement, the company has said doctors worldwide have replaced 13,000 of one of its models.
The short-circuit in the Guidant defibrillator can occur
when the device builds an electrical charge used to shock a heart that is beating irregularly. In three reported cases, when doctors induced abnormal heart rhythms in patients with the device, it did not work, forcing doctors to use external defibrillators to restore a normal heart beat. According to Guidant, the electrical malfunction in the Ventak Prizm 2 Model 1861 is unique to units produced from mid-2000 through mid-2002. Since Guidant fixed the flaw, no other electrical problems have been reported.
While Guidant informed the FDA of the malfunction in its
August 2003 annual report, it has been asserted that the company made no move to alert doctors or heart patients of the malfunction until after it was told that the New York Times was preparing an article on May 23, 2005 about the faulty devices. On their website, Guidant claims their product is reliable and performs correctly under most circumstances, and does not recommend the defibrillators be replaced.
Cardiac patients who have undergone replacement surgeries or who have suffered other injuries due to malfunctioning defibrillators may view the firm’s corporate website at http://www.weitzlux.com for more information. Weitz & Luxenberg has built a reputation as one of the country’s foremost medical device law firms, helping thousands of patients receive significant financial compensation for their injuries.
People injured by Guidant or Medtronic defibrillators can contact Weitz & Luxenberg. Interested parties should call the Client Relations Department at 1 (800) 476-6070, email [email protected], and view the firm’s website at http://www.weitzlux.com