By Osborne & Francis
October 25, 2023

When Heart Help Fails: The Risks and Ramifications of Faulty Pacemakers

Pacemakers are marvels of modern medicine, often serving as lifelines for individuals with heart rhythm disorders. These remarkable devices are instrumental in saving lives by regulating the heartbeat ensuring that the heart beats in a consistent and healthy rhythm. According to one estimate, 3 million people in the U.S. could have one.

However, like all medical technology, pacemakers aren’t without their risks. In this article, we’ll look at the critical role of pacemakers in cardiac care. You'll also learn the potential dangers that result when these devices malfunction and the complex legal landscape surrounding medical malpractice in such cases.

The medical malpractice attorneys with Osborne & Francis have years of experience helping clients who have suffered harm due to defective pacemakers and other medical devices. You can call 561-293-2600 or contact us online to schedule a free evaluation of your case. 

Understanding Pacemakers

Pacemakers are small electronic devices surgically implanted beneath the skin of the chest or abdomen. They’re equipped with leads attached to specific areas of the heart. The primary function of a pacemaker is to serve as a guardian of the heart's rhythm. It continuously monitors the heart's electrical activity, ensuring it beats consistently and appropriately.

When a pacemaker identifies a problem, such as bradycardia (a slow heart rate), arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms), or heart blockage, it springs into action. The pacemaker sends precisely timed electrical impulses through the leads to stimulate the heart muscle and restore a regular heartbeat. This intervention is a lifeline for those suffering from heart rhythm disorders, allowing them to live relatively normal and healthy lives.

The Dangers of a Faulty Pacemaker

When a pacemaker malfunctions, it can have severe physical and emotional consequences. Physically, a malfunctioning pacemaker can lead to various complications, including dangerous arrhythmias that can cause fainting, dizziness, or even sudden cardiac arrest. It can sometimes contribute to heart failure, where the heart can't pump blood effectively, endangering the patient's life.

Researchers conducting a study found that 5.3% of pacemaker recipients suffered complications. Nearly 90% of the complications occurred due to issues with the electrical leads. The most common problem was bleeding.

You shouldn’t underestimate the emotional and psychological toll of a faulty pacemaker. Patients who rely on these devices often live with a constant fear of malfunction, which can lead to chronic anxiety and stress. The psychological burden of worrying about the reliability of a life-sustaining device can severely impact a person's quality of life and mental well-being. 

Medical Malpractice and Faulty Pacemakers

Medical malpractice is a legal term encompassing the negligence or substandard care provided by medical professionals, healthcare facilities, or manufacturers. A faulty pacemaker can qualify as a medical malpractice case if the malfunction resulted from errors made by healthcare providers, manufacturers, or hospitals during various stages of its use.

Determining liability in cases involving faulty pacemakers can be intricate and multifaceted. Any of the following parties may be responsible:

Accurate establishment of liability depends on a comprehensive investigation. At Osborne & Francis, we know how to do precisely that.

Signs Your Pacemaker Might Be Malfunctioning

Recognizing the signs of a malfunctioning pacemaker is crucial for patient safety. Common symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeats (palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Patients should be vigilant about any unusual symptoms or changes in their health, as these can indicate a pacemaker issue. Regular check-ups and continuous monitoring by healthcare professionals are vital to detecting problems early and preventing life-threatening complications.

Steps to Take if Your Pacemaker is Malfunctioning

If you have any reason to believe your pacemaker is malfunctioning, please immediately seek medical attention. Time is often of the essence in addressing pacemaker issues, as prompt intervention can be the difference between life and death. 

In addition to seeking medical help, you should diligently document any health changes, symptoms, or issues you experience. These detailed records serve as essential evidence if medical malpractice is suspected, helping establish a timeline of events and providing valuable support for potential legal claims.

Determining Liability and Seeking Compensation for Your Damages

If you’re dealing with the consequences of a faulty pacemaker, please don’t hesitate to speak with a personal injury lawyer with expertise in medical malpractice cases. These attorneys specialize in navigating the intricate legal landscape surrounding medical negligence. They play a crucial role in identifying the parties responsible for the pacemaker malfunction, whether it's the healthcare providers, manufacturers, or hospitals. 

In a medical malpractice lawsuit, potential damages and compensation can include medical expenses related to the faulty device, pain and suffering endured by the patient, lost income due to medical issues, and other financial and emotional damages.

How Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Help You?

A medical malpractice attorney is your advocate and legal guide throughout the process. They have a deep understanding of medical procedures, protocols, and standards of care and can work with medical experts to establish negligence. Attorneys gather evidence, consult with specialists, and negotiate with opposing parties to secure the compensation you deserve. Their ultimate goal is to hold those responsible for your suffering accountable and help you on the path to recovery.

If you or a loved one has experienced the devastating consequences of a faulty pacemaker, consider contacting a medical malpractice attorney who can provide you with the support and legal representation needed to seek justice and compensation. Your well-being and quality of life deserve nothing less.

Please remember that Florida’s statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases is two years. You have to take legal action two years from the date you suffered harm or you discovered the harm. If you miss this deadline, you won’t be able to file a lawsuit. 

Contact Osborne and Francis to Speak with an Experienced Attorney About Your Faulty Pacemaker

The experienced attorneys with Osborne & Francis are dedicated to helping victims of medical negligence obtain justice and compensation. Use our online contact form or call 561-293-2600 for a confidential consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Your health and well-being deserve nothing less than the highest level of care and advocacy.

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