Faulty Pacemaker Compensation

If you or a close relative have suffered the consequences of being fitted with a faulty pacemaker or heart defibrillator, you can rest assured that the highly experienced team of personal injury solicitors at Blackwater Law will help you make a claim for faulty pacemaker compensation and get you the financial compensation you deserve.

Heart defibrillators, otherwise known as implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), are fitted in the chest or abdomen of patients with life-threatening heart problems or who are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest; pacemakers, on the other hand, use electrical impulses to help control and correct abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias.

Regardless of the type of device that is fitted, they all have a similar function: To restore the heartbeat to a normal rhythm whenever a problem is detected. For the majority of patients, pacemakers function perfectly well and improve the quality of life of the individual concerned. However, ICDs and pacemakers can and do malfunction – often with catastrophic results.

Claiming Faulty Pacemaker Compensation

If you or a loved one believe you may have been affected by a pacemaker or heart defibrillator failing, it may be possible to make a case for faulty heart defibrillator compensation. Call Blackwater Law today and speak with a specialist medical negligence solicitor. Your solicitor will give you expert, free initial advice and will quickly determine whether you or your family member may be entitled to compensation.

How Common are Faulty Heart Defibrillators & Pacemakers

According to recent by academics at the University of San Francisco, almost a third of sudden deaths among patients with pacemakers and heart defibrillators could be caused by mechanical failures in these devices. A growing number of scientists and medical researchers believe there is sufficient evidence to suggest that faulty pacemakers and ICDs could be a ‘leading cause of mortality’ among those fitted with the devices and could be responsible for more than 2,000 deaths each year in the UK.

Over 40,000 people are fitted with pacemakers in the UK annually, while several hundred have ICDs. In total, a quarter of a million people are fitted with either a pacemaker or heart defibrillator in the UK. Approximately 14,000 of these patients die unexpectedly having previously been in relatively good health. If any of these deaths are the result of a mechanical failure, depending on the exact circumstances of the case, there may be grounds to make a claim for compensation.

The technology behind heart monitoring devices moves forward very quickly and there have been significant advances that have improved patients’ quality and length of life. However, when pacemakers and ICDs fail, patients that are affected could be entitled to financial compensation as a result.

Pacemaker and Defibrillator Faults & Malfunctions

Pacemaker and ICD malfunction can occur for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from equipment failure to changes in underlying native rhythm. Diagnosis of pacemaker and heart defibrillator malfunction is challenging and often associated with non-specific clinical symptoms, while ECG changes can be subtle or absent. Because of this, faulty pacemaker compensation claims can be equally challenging, which is why it is so important to secure the services of experienced personal injury solicitors such as Blackwater Law as quickly as possible.

Problems with Sensing

Undersensing

Undersensing occurs when the pacemaker fails to sense native cardiac activity, which can result in asynchronous pacing. Causes of undersensing include increased stimulation threshold at electrode site (exit block), poor lead contact, new bundle branch block or programming problems.

Oversensing

Oversensing occurs when electrical signals are inappropriately recognised as native cardiac activity and pacing is inhibited. These inappropriate signals may be large P or T waves, skeletal muscle activity or lead contact problems.

Problems with Pacing

Output Failure

Output failure occurs when a paced stimulus is not generated in a situation where expected, which can result in decreased or absent pacemaker function. There are multiple causes of output failure including oversensing, wire fracture or lead displacement.

Failure to Capture

Failure to capture occurs when paced stimulus does not result in myocardial depolarisation. There are multiple causes of failure to capture, including electrode displacement, wire fracture, electrolyte disturbance, MI or exit block.

Grounds for Making a Compensation Claim

Some patients have received multiple, unnecessary electric shocks after being fitted with a faulty device, which could also give rise to a faulty heart defibrillator compensation claim. Some manufacturers have withdrawn certain models due to an increased risk of mechanical malfunction or failure. If the lead of a heart defibrillator or pacemaker fractures, it can send false information to the device, triggering unnecessary electric shocks.

If you have had to undergo surgery to replace a faulty pacemaker or heart defibrillator, you could be entitled to compensation for the pain and discomfort caused by having to undergo an unnecessary operation, as well as for the loss of any earnings as a result of the surgery causing you to take time off work. Some patients even suffered psychiatric effects following the failure of the device, which again could lead to claim.

Clinical Negligence in Fitting Pacemakers

As well as the device itself malfunctioning, human error (or clinical negligence) in fitting the device wrongly, fitting the wrong device, or mistakes in programming the device may also provide grounds for commencing a clinical negligence compensation claim.

If you are seeking specialist legal advice about a faulty pacemaker or heart defibrillator that has affected the life of yourself or a close relative, and you want to be supported by a specialist lawyer with experience in claiming compensation for faulty pacemakers and ICDs, we can help you with your faulty pacemaker compensation claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, if your case is accepted.

Other Services

Along with handling compensation claims for faulty pacemakers and heart defibrillators, we also handle personal injury and accident compensation claims for victims of clinical negligence, road traffic accidents, workplace accidents and criminal injuries. To find out more, email us or call us on 0800 083 5500.

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What our clients say…

“Anna Woolf’s persistent nature when dealing with the defendant’s insurance company and encouragement when it came to pursuing the correct amount in compensation was excellent. Once again, a big thank you to Anna and all involved with my case.”

Mr. H, London

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