Medtronic, the nation’s largest electronic heart device maker, has agreed to pay $75 million in settlement of 2,000 claims that it hid defects in its defibrillators. A defibrillator is a medical device that is surgically implanted in the chest and, after sensing an abnormal heart rhythm, will send an electrical jolt to correct the abnormal heart beats, which can be life threatening. Defects in the medical device, including battery defects and other glitches, cause the defibrillator to fail and can result in death. There remains time for potential claimants to recover under this settlement and if you have an implanted defibrillatror you should immediately contact an attorney to protect your rights.
Approximately one million Americans have heart conditions that place them at risk for fatal heart rhythms and sudden death. Several studies have concluded that using an implantable defibrillator can reduce the chance of sudden death by around 7%. Medtronic has already recalled around 87,000 defibrilators and surgery was done to replace approximately 19,000 more. There are claims that Medtronic attempted to hide the defects in its product, which it became aware of as early as September 2003. Another company, Guidant, has also recalled over 100,000 defibrillators and documents indicate that Guidant also knew of the problems in 2002. Guidant previously settled its claims for $195 million.
If you know someone who died while they had a implantable defibrillator in place, it is critical that you immediely contact an attorney because your time to file a lawsuit is very limited. Additionally, if you currently have an implanted Medtronic defibrillator, you should contact an attorney to learn if you are eligible to participate in this recent settlement.