Did patient lawsuit spur Medtronic recall?

Are they recall chasers--or recall prompters? Heart patients and their lawyers beat a quick path to the courthouse yesterday to sue Medtronic over defibrillator wires recalled barely 24 hours before. But their lawyer says they decided to sue on Friday, and that Medtronic fessed up to the wiring problems because it knew the lawsuit was coming.

Two patients, Leonard Stavish and Kelly Luisi, are seeking class-action status for their suit, alleging emotional distress and negligence. The suit claims that Stavish got 47 unneeded-yet-painful jolts to his heart from the faulty wiring and later replaced them--with a new set of the same recalled wires. Luisi also had her defibrillator removed after repeated shocks which scarred her heart, according to the lawsuit.

Medtronic says its decision to recall the Fidelis defibrillator leads wasn't inspired by the impending lawsuit. Meanwhile, analysts are expecting this legal claim to be the first of many.

- see this Los Angeles Times report for more

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