Medtronic Recalls Faulty Insulin Pumps

Medtronic Recalls Faulty Insulin Pumps

After evidence of a possible life-threatening defect came to light, Medtronic, the medical device giant issued an immediate recall for its MiniMed Insulin Pumps.

The recall covers over 300,000 devices which were sold in the United States beginning in June 2017.

Medtronic touted these pumps as safe to use for people as young as seven years old.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these pumps have defective retainer rings. If the retainer ring does not work properly, the pump could deliver too much insulin or not enough insulin, even if the patient thought the dose amount was correct.

This defect has already seriously injured thousands of people.

Insulin Dosage Injuries

Prior to the recall, tens of thousands of people had complained about the pump defect.

However, Medtronic largely ignored these complaints until an outside force prompted it to take action.

Since the FDA depends heavily on user fees from the companies it regulates, this body only issues recalls as a last resort.

So, it’s usually up to New York personal injury attorneys to provide the needed outside changing force.

Insulin is one of the body’s most powerful and delicate hormones. It is essential to things like metabolism and glucose absorption. A little too much can be deadly, and little less than normal can also be deadly.

An insulin overdose could cause hypoglycemia. The risk of an overdose is very high. Therefore, seemingly insignificant safety features, like an unlocked retainer ring, are critical to health.

Excess insulin causes cells to absorb more glucose and causes the liver to produce less insulin.

As a result, blood sugar levels become dangerously low. Initial hypoglycemia symptoms include confusion, irritability, rapid heartbeat, and hunger.

If these people immediately consume a high-glucose food or beverage, like candy or fruit juice, these symptoms usually dissipate.

In extreme situations, hypoglycemia leads to insulin shock or diabetes shock. This condition is often fatal.

On the other end of the spectrum, hyperglycemia is an insulin deficiency. If the body has insufficient insulin, glucose levels become too high and overload the kidney.

This condition, called ketoacidosis, is life-threatening.

Hyperglycemia has chronic health consequences as well.

Insulin deficiency alters body chemistry, leading to conditions like retinopathy, neuropathy, diabetic nephropathy, and atherosclerosis.

Manufacturing Defects

In the rush to sell as many medical devices as possible, many companies take shortcuts during the manufacturing process.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to sell as much product as possible. But if that urge puts people at risk, that can become a serious problem.

A non-working component is one of the most common manufacturing defects.

For example, an assembly line machine might drill a hole slightly off-center.

As a result, the screw does not fit exactly right. After a few uses, the screwed component breaks entirely.

Quality control workers should catch these problems before these products reach consumers. But too many times, these inspectors either rubber-stamp products or they do not examine them closely.

Cheap material use is another manufacturing defect. Takata airbags are a good example. Until the late 1990s, the company used tetrazole as an airbag inflator.

Tetrazole was a stable chemical that caused airbags to inflate rapidly but not explode. Tetrazole was also rather expensive.

So, by around 2001, the company had fully switched to ammonium nitrate, a similar but much less expensive chemical. Ammonium nitrate is also highly unstable.

Liability Issues

Medical device manufacturers and other manufacturers are strictly liable for manufacturing defect issues. Victim/plaintiffs need only establish causation.

Manufacturers are strictly liable for other product defects as well, such as design and marketing defects.

To establish cause, New York personal injury attorneys typically partner with engineers and other experts. These individuals break things down for jurors.

Furthermore, these individuals point out that, in most cases, the defect was rather easy to correct. But instead, the manufacturer essentially ignored the problem.

That intentional disregard of consumer safety usually supports a punitive damages award. Punitive damages punish the company and deter future misconduct.

These damages are available on top of compensatory damages for economic and noneconomic losses.

If you or a loved one was injured due to Medtronic’s defective insulin pump or any other defective product, call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC for a free consultation. We handle these claims on a nationwide basis.