According to Reuters, a recall has been issued for St. Jude Medical heart devices manufactured prior to May 23, 2015 due to problems with their batteries. Reportedly, the recall was issued after two people died as a result of the issue with the heart devices.
How Are St. Jude Medical Heart Devices Hurting Patients?
St. Jude’s heart devices are also known as CRT-Ds and ICDs. They are designed to deliver a shock to a person’s heart if it’s racing at a dangerous level or if the person suffers heart failure. The shock is meant to jumpstart the heart back into its normal rhythm. The problem with the batteries in devices made before May 23, 2015 is that it wasn’t until that date that St. Jude Medical began installing insulation to lower the chances of the devices short circuiting.
The two deaths linked to the recall happened because the heart devices’ batteries failed prematurely, according to a St. Jude Medical official in the Reuters report. The St. Jude Medical heart devices first hit the market in 2010 and are designed to work properly for seven years or more. Therefore, if the batteries in the heart devices are already failing, there’s probably something wrong.
Reportedly, the devices do have fail safes installed to warn patients when the batteries are getting low. First, they are supposed to vibrate regularly to alert the person that they are running out of power and that the patient should visit the doctor in the next 90 days to have the battery replaced. Second, the heart devices come with a home monitoring system, which wirelessly checks the device’s battery level and performance and sends reports to the person’s doctor. The heart device of at least one of the patients who died did vibrate. However, it did not do so until a few days before he was set to have the battery replaced.
When a patient is injured or loses his or her life due to a medical device defect, it can be grounds for product liability claim.