Medtronic's defibrillator subject of Madison County personal injury suit

Steve Gonzalez Apr. 9, 2008, 7:15am

Donald Shewmake filed suit against Medtronic, Inc. alleging he suffered personal injuries and economic damages as a result of a defective and dangerous defibrillator.

Represented by Robert Rowland of Edwardsville, Shewmake claims he has a heart condition which causes him to use an implantable defibrillator.

According to Shewmake, he was implanted with a Medtronic defibrillator which has a "Sprint Fidelis" lead which is supposed to help his heart maintain an appropriate cardiac rhythm and to prevent sudden cardiac arrest.

"On or about April 28, 2006 plaintiff experienced a series of shocks from the defective defibrillator lead which culminated in him suffering a myocardial infarction on that date," the complaint states.

Shewmake claims that during his hospital stay in April 2006, he had the broken lead removed and replaced and that a year later in July 2007, the battery had to be replaced prematurely as a result of the damage from the previously broken lead.

"The defibrillator and lead were unreasonably dangerous and defective when they left the control of the defendant in that the leads could fracture and cause inappropriate shocks or result in the loss of therapy including pacing or shocking," the complaint states. "The defect existed from the time of manufacture to the time the lead fractured."

Shewmake claims he suffered permanent and continuing damage as a result of the defective lead.

He also claims Medtronic breached its duty to make a reasonably safe defibrillator and lead.

Shewmake is seeking damages in excess of $100,000, plus costs of the suit.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge David Hylla.

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