Thursday, 21 October 2010

Medtronic Agrees to $258 Million Settlement in Sprint Fidelis Lawsuits

Medtronic has agreed to pay $258 million to settle more than 8,100 personal injury lawsuits arising from injuries caused from fractured wires in the Sprint Fidelis cardiac defibrillator leads. Sales of the devices in question have been stopped since 2007. At least 13 deaths have been linked to defibrillators which came with the fractured wires. Four of those deaths occurred when patients underwent surgery to remove the devices.

The settlement will provide an average payout of approximately $33,000 to patients who currently have the defibrillators implanted with the defective wires that are likely to break, or those with devices that already have fractured wires. The actual amount of the payout will depend on the defect and the severity of the injuries.

The wires in the defibrillators are responsible for delivering electric shocks to the heart when the device recognizes a faulty or irregular heartbeat. In the defective defibrillators that California pharmaceutical liability lawyers have come across, persons received an unnecessary electric shock, causing serious injuries, or the device failed to regulate the person's heartbeat altogether.

Between 2004 when the devices were introduced and 2007, the company had a lion’s share of the $5.8 billion international market for defibrillators. According to Medtronic, about 170,000 people worldwide still have the defibrillators implanted in them. For persons who have these devices implanted in them, the choice has been hard to make. If they continue to retain the implanted devices, there is the risk of suffering an electric shock somewhere in the future if the wires break. There might also be the risk of malfunctioning of the device, in which case, the device would fail to serve its purpose. If they choose to have surgery to remove the device, they are at risk from a procedure is fraught with challenges and risks.

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