A recent study discussed in the New York Times found that some defective wiring in a type of defibrillators have contributed to the death of 22 patients. Doctors have been warned about the potentially deadly impact of the defective products, but an estimated 79,000 patients in the United States already have the wires implanted. While simply removing the wires is in itself dangerous and not recommended, Missouri patients with the defibrillators should seek out doctors to explain the risk the device poses.
The manufacturer of the wires is St. Jude Medical. The deaths that have been reported thus far have been contained to a small range of products and were all associated with two specific models of the company's line: Riata and Riata ST. St. Jude Medical no longer make the wires that have caused the problems and the company has warned doctors about the possible complications that may arise once the defibrillator has been implanted.
The device is implanted under a person's collarbone and when a patient's heartbeat becomes erratic or chaotic, the device sends an electrical current to the heart, which shocks it and restores a normal heartbeat rhythm. In this case the wires that connect to the heart are malfunctioning. Specifically, the wires have shown that they are capable of short-circuiting and can then fail to deliver life-saving shocks to the heart has led to several fatalities.
These electrical problems aren't the only ones that have been reported with the devices. There have also been reports have the wires rubbing against the defibrillators and other instances where the wires were sticking out of their protective casing.
The worry is for the many thousands of other patients that have the device still implanted in their chests. Another worry is that simply removing the device won't be easy and could even cause more problems for patients. According to the same study, eight people have died while having the wires removed.
Having a medical device installed in your body can be a frightening experience for patients and manufacturers and doctors have to ensure that the products are safe and properly implanted. In cases where a medical device is improperly manufactured or installed serious injuries can be sustained by patients. If you or someone you know has been injured because of a company's failure to provide a safe and healthy product, you need the help of a St. Louis products liability attorney experienced and ready to help protect your rights and recover damages for your injury. Contact products liability attorney Ben Sansone today for a free initial consultation at (314) 863-0500.
Source: "Bad Wire in Heart Device Led to 22 Deaths, Study Says," by Katie Thomas, published at NYTimes.com.
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