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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Bill Could Revoke Corporate License to “Hit and Run”

Word around Capitol Hill is that the Medical Device Safety Act will be reintroduced in Congress soon. The bill stalled in the face of strident Republican opposition in the last Congress. Now, we hope the newly energized Democratic majority will be able to pass this important legislation.

The bill responds to last year’s disastrous decision in Riegel v. Medtronic, in which the Supreme Court said that Medtronic could not be sued for injury caused by its faulty implanted defibrillators because the Food and Drug Administration had approved the devices. That left thousands of Americans victims of a corporate “hit and run,” with no ability to sue the manufacturer of these dangerous devices.

Yesterday, a New York Times article stated that the recalled defibrillators are failing at a much higher rate than Medtronic had claimed. A study by Dr. Robert Hauser of the Minneapolis Heart Institute and Dr. David Hayes of the Mayo Clinic found that the devices were failing at a rate more than twice that which Medtronic released. Medtronic claimed that 1 out of 20 defibrillators could be expected to fail after three years. This new study suggested that almost 1 out of every 8 devices have failed in that same time period.

What’s more, patients who received implants of these faulty defibrillators face a difficult decision. As the New York Times previously reported, removing the devices can be dangerous too. The Times told the story of a 33-year-old father, Mark Turnidge, who died after surgery to remove his Medtronic device.

Last year’s Supreme Court decision led to the dismissal of hundreds of lawsuits against Medtronic. By enacting the Medical Devices Safety Act, Congress and President Obama can stop corporations from overturning a hundred years of consumer protection.


Marlys said...

Now we have a leader interested in protecting the citizens from the unequal justice provided to big business by the Bush administration. If a drug or medical device harms us we will once more have the ability to turn to our court system.

Wendy said...

I am Wendy Turnidge, the wife to Mark Turnidge who is mentioned in this story. My life has been ruined and destroyed by my soul mate and best friend being ripped from me and my now 4 year old son Lance. I have many of my own meidcal issues and Mark was my rock and my nurse. He put my TPN in me at night, stayed with me through countless surgeries of my own and when we went to take him to this one....we didn't have a clue what would happen; he died. Things must change in Congress and people need to be able to go after the makers of the devices that are put in people's bodies. I miss my honey and love of my life. From Mark's WenWen