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Defective defibrillators could drain batteries

A class action lawsuit has been brought against Medtronic of Canada Ltd. and Medtronic, Inc. over the defibrillators that the company sold. Though these are designed to help people with heart conditions, there have been serious concerns at almost every level, from development and design to testing to the marketing and sale of these units. There are potential issues with both cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators and implantable cardiac defibrillators.

The issue lies with machines that were made between April of 2001 and December of 2003, though no notice of said issue was given until the beginning of 2005. It was discovered that the batteries could short out and deplete at a massively accelerated rate. These devices require working batteries when a life-threatening arrhythmia is present in the patient, so a machine with a dead battery was as helpful as not having it in the first place.

Furthermore, the implanted devices pose a serious problem since changing out the battery -- or installing a new device entirely -- requires a surgical procedure. This is not something that can be done quickly and easily. The whole device needs to be removed to access the battery.

As such, there are two big financial considerations that come into play. The first is that people who have had the batteries fail may have been injured or even killed as a result, when their devices did not function properly at the times they were needed most.

The other consideration is that those who need to make the change could face high medical costs, lost wages while missing work for recovery, pain and suffering, and other such issues. They're being forced to have another medical procedure done when it never should have been required. In either case, people must know how to seek financial compensation for their losses if they used this defective defibrillator.

Source: Rochon Genova, "Medtronic Defibrillator," accessed Aug. 24, 2016

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