Because of a ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals, Medtronic may be liable for manufacturing a defibrillator that allegedly confused users as to the appropriate setting for restoring a patient’s heart beat to a normal rhythm. The Court reversed a summary judgment which had been granted by the trial court. The Plaintiff in the case alleged that he suffered a brain injury because an emergency room doctor using a Medtronic LifePak 9P defibrillator failed to promptly restore his heartbeat. The Plaintiff says the delay was due to the fact that the defibrillator automatically reset to deliver asynchronous shocks when his doctor thought he had set the device to deliver the synchronous shocks the Plaintiff needed.
In suing Medtronic for a defective product under Missouri law, the Plaintiff alleged that the company’s defibrillator was defective because it confused users as to when it was set to deliver synchronous shocks instead of asynchronous shocks. Medtronic argued that it was not a fault because the Plaintiff’s doctor failed to follow the instructions provided with its device. But the Appeals Court concluded that this fact alone did not insulate Medtronic from liability. The Court, in its opinion, stated:
In this case, the [plaintiff’s] expert testified that Medtronic unreasonably relied on its printed instructions to inform users of the proper means of operating the device. Instead of such passive materials, the [plaintiff’s] expert opined that Medtronic should instead have provided active notification through explicit messages that the device had reverted to asynchronous mode on the defibrillator’s monitor or through audible alarms, or by requiring users to manually override the device’s default settings. … In light of this testimony, as well as the evidence concerning the reasonably anticipated misuse of the LifePak 9P and the potentially fatal consequences of such misuse, it is a question of fact for the jury to decide as to whether or not a defibrillator sold without these safeguards constitutes a defective condition.
This case will now be sent back to the trial court where it will proceed. It will be up to a jury to determine liability based on the facts presented at trial.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.