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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We Need Medical Device Safety Now

The announcement on May 20 from Medtronic comes as a timely reminder of why we need the Medical Device Safety Act.

Medtronic’s announcement warns doctors that 37,000 of their pacemakers may be defective. This announcement comes after last week’s House Subcommittee Energy and Commerce hearing on "H.R. 1346, the Medical Device Safety Act of 2009." The 2008 Supreme Court decision Riegel v. Medtronic took away the rights of injured consumers to hold negligent medical device manufacturers accountable when their products cause injury and death. The Medical Device Safety Act will restore those rights allowing consumers such as Bill Storms, of Delaware, Ohio, to hold device manufacturers accountable.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Two summers ago, Bill Storms of Delaware, Ohio, says he got 138 electrical jolts over a five-hour period when the wires to his pacemaker went haywire. The 38-year-old truck driver had to visit several emergency rooms before the device could be turned off.

"It felt like having a horse inside you trying to kick its way out of your chest," said Storms, whose lawsuit against the maker of his Sprint Fidelis pacemaker wires was thrown out of court this year along with hundreds of similar cases by a judge who cited a 2008 Supreme Court precedent.

Storms and others who say they were injured by faulty medical devices want Congress to pass legislation that would override the Supreme Court decision in Riegel v. Medtronic, which found that consumers can't sue medical device companies over medical devices that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

You can help people like Bill Storms receive justice by urging Congress to pass the Medical Device Safety Act. Sign our petition to Protect our Health and Safety and Restore Corporate Accountability. You can learn more about the Medtronic case and other recent decisions on our Supreme Court Watch page.

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