St. Jude Defibrillator/Pacemaker 

The warning signal. It’s a built-in reminder in many modern devices that a power source is getting low or a piece of machinery is in need of a tune-up. Whether it’s a flashing “low fuel” or “check engine” light on your car or a periodic beep on your smoke alarm warning of a low battery, these warning signals might be a cause for mild concern. When the device giving off a warning signal is one that literally keeps your heart beating, it becomes a matter of life, death, or serious injury.

The St. Jude implantable, battery-operated defibrillator has been a life-saver for people at risk of cardiac arrest. Some of these defibrillators have also been programmed as pacemakers to help manage irregular heart beats. While these devices are designed to help people with heart problems live normal lives, an issue involving defective batteries has struck fear into many patients, and has been linked to two known deaths worldwide.  The devices with the defective battery design include versions sold as Fortify, Fortify Assura, Quadra Assura, Quadra Assura MP, Unify, Unify Assura, and Unify Quadra prior to May 2015.  Over 8000 individuals in Canada have been implanted with one of these devices.

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The lithium batteries in these St. Jude defibrillator/pacemakers are supposed to last for more than seven years before requiring replacement. However, lithium cluster formation near the device’s cathode was causing a short circuit and rapid high current drain, prematurely causing the batteries to fail.

When a St. Jude defibrillator/pacemaker’s battery appears low, an automatic warning signal in the device tells a patient to schedule a replacement operation within three months. But the high current drain from lithium clusters can drain a battery within a few hours or a day of this warning signal, putting the patient at great risk of imminent injury or death.  Some patients may not feel the warning signal.

Having a potentially defective medical device implanted in your body may seriously reduce your quality of life, and may increase the risks associated with premature battery failure. At Howie, Sacks and Henry, our product liability and personal injury lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help victims who have had struggles with premature battery failures.

Our qualified and compassionate team will review and build your case and be a staunch advocate in your quest to receive compensation and damages.