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More on defective Medtronic defibrillator leads

   On December 13, the New York Times published an update on its continuing account of defective Medtronic defibrillator leads.    The paper pointed out yet again that replacing these brittle leads, which are prone to failure, costs about $12,000.00, but that Medtronic will contribute only $800.00 to the expense of replacing a lead that has not yet fractured.  Replacement is a painstaking 90 minute procedure fraught with serious potential risks.  The defibrillator market is worth 5.6 million dollars annually, internationally, with much of the profit originating in the U.S. 

    In response to brittleness identified in the Fidelis leads, Medtronic has returned to selling the older, but more reliable Quattro defibrillator lead.  By its response to the failure of Fidilis leads, Medtronic has been allowed to capture enormous profit from selling the defibrillators and leads, while leaving the detritus of its product failures to be covered by individual patients, their insurers, or the federal government through Medicare and Medicaid.  Of course, for Michigan patients, if the device was approved by the FDA, the consumer has no recourse, regardless of failure, and regardless of negligence in design or fraud in covering up the problem.

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