Medical devices are meant to diagnose, prevent or treat diseases. But the substandard kind can cause fatal outcomes.
Whether external or implanted, defibrillators electrically charge the heart to restore its normal rhythm. They jolt the heart into beating again in the event of a sudden and unexpected cardiac arrhythmia or when the heart does not pump enough blood to the body.
With fully functioning parts, defibrillators can save lives. With defective components, they can lead to severe injuries and death.
Ways defibrillators can be deadly
The Food and Drug Administration has recalled defibrillator models through the years. Guidant, for example, reported two deaths due to a wiring error causing their products to short-circuit. Other manufacturers, such as St. Jude Medical and Medtronic, recalled their malfunctioning units because of rapid or premature battery depletion. There have also been reports of companies using thin leads to reduce production costs.
Unfortunately, damaged equipment can have cracks, breaks or worn-out wires, resulting in:
- Excruciatingly painful swelling, bruising or bleeding
- Failure to generate necessary electrical currents
- Failure to prevent unnecessary shocks due to false triggers
Sometimes, faulty defibrillators are already in use before their designers detect flaws. Removing them from a patient’s body is as lethal as keeping them.
Further, suppose hospitals fail to observe proper maintenance of their defibrillators. In that case, injured parties may also hold them liable for not addressing disintegrating products.
Patients over profits
Manufacturers prioritizing profits over delivering safe products for their consumers makes for risky situations. However, some patients are still unsure how to protect their rights against giant companies. While the process often becomes complex, patients can focus on healing and entrust the legal battle to their West Virginia counsel.