Faulty Pacemakers Could be Responsible for 30% of Patient Fatalities

By Blackwater Law

University of San Francisco academics have unearthed worrying evidence that faulty pacemakers could be responsible for around 30% of patient fatalities where the deceased had a pacemaker or cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted.

Among the failures recorded in a study led by Professor Zian Tseng and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, were instances of batteries running out, the implant being programmed incorrectly or the wrong type of device being fitted. This is particularly worrying for UK patients concerned about the notion of clinical negligence as regards the fitting of their pacemakers or ICDs, and indeed Professor Tseng himself, who issued the following statement in relation to the findings:

“This study shows that a leading cause of mortality in the developed world could be attributed to heart device problems, which is a major concern ‘In many cases these devices are saving lives but we assume they are infallible and they are not.”

Faulty Pacemakers Could be Responsible for Thousands of UK Deaths

Upwards of 40,000 British patients are fitted with pacemakers or ICDs every year, and it’s thought that around a quarter of a million UK residents currently have one of the devices fitted. If Professor Tseng’s findings are to be believed, faulty pacemakers may be responsible for around 75,000 deaths. This latest research may provide support for the pursuit of faulty pacemaker compensation by relatives.

Alarmingly, we may already be observing the onset of these trends, as around 14,000 UK patients die every year having been fitted with a pacemaker or ICD – around half of whom suddenly so after having been in relatively good health. Should Professor Tseng’s findings be applied to this figure, it may be estimated that approximately 2,000 British deaths a year can be attributed to faulty pacemakers or the poor programming or fitting of them by medical practitioners. Whether the devices themselves are faulty or they have indeed been improperly administered, victims and their families may be entitled to bring a clinical negligence compensation claim.

Healthcare Industry Must Learn From These ‘Failures’

Commenting on the likelihood of pacemaker or ICD-inflicted deaths in UK patients, Dr Paul Roberts, a cardiology consultant based at the University of Southampton, issued the following statement:

The technology moves forward very quickly and there have been significant advances that have improved patients’ quality and length of life. Inevitably, occasionally, the technology fails us…It is important the healthcare profession and industry learns from these failures.”

Legal Action for Fatalities Caused by Faulty Pacemakers

Of course it’s worth remembering that in the majority of cases pacemakers or ICDs improve the lives of patients, allowing them to return to a sense of normality and health in their lives. This should never blind to us to the prospect of things going wrong however, and when they do, appropriate action should be taken to rectify it.

Jason Brady, specialist product liability compensation solicitor at Blackwater Law, said:

“Unfortunately it is the case that medical products are brought to market which are later found to be faulty or ineffective. This has happened in relation to a number of medical products such as breast implants and metal-on-metal hip replacements being two of the most high profile in recent years.

“Many individuals implanted with such products may not be aware that they may be entitled to claim compensation for the pain, suffering and losses caused by faulty products and I recommend that anyone affected should seek advice from a specialist solicitor experienced in dealing with faulty medical device compensation claims, such as those at Blackwater Law.”

If you or a family member believe you may have suffered as a result of a faulty pacemaker or ICD, contact Blackwater Law clinical negligence solicitors today.

A specialist lawyer at Blackwater Law Solicitors will provide give you free initial advice on your potential to make a claim for compensation.

Call Blackwater Law clinical negligence solicitors today on 0800 083 5500.