Pacemakers are supposed to be reliable, life-saving devices. Sometimes, things do not work out that way. Doctors have long looked to pacemakers to help regulate patients’ irregular heartbeats and prevent strokes and heart attacks. Doctors often equip patients with pacemakers to minimize their risk of future cardiovascular deterioration. These medical devices usually keep very sick patients alive. When a pacemaker malfunction happens, the patient is at serious risk.
What Are Pacemakers Used For?
There are a variety of reasons why a patient may need a pacemaker. Their heart rate might be too slow. They may have a heart blockage due to the electrical system in the heart not working correctly. They may have suffered heart failure and now have weak or damaged heart muscles. Their heart rate may be too irregular or fast. Other medications and other procedures may not have adequately helped.
Symptoms After a Pacemaker Malfunction
When a pacemaker ceases to work correctly, there are several symptoms that a patient may experience. They may become dizzy or lightheaded, suffer a loss of consciousness or start having fainting spells. They may start having heart palpitations or difficulty breathing. Their heart rate may become unpredictable. The muscles in their chest or abdomen may consistently twitch. They may also begin to experience frequent hiccups.
The complete failure of a pacemaker is rare, but it can happen. If the battery becomes depleted, there is a loose or broken wire, electronic circuit failure or the unit becomes dislodged, then it may stop working entirely.
Who Can I Hold Accountable for a Pacemaker Malfunction?
There are two people that you may be able to hold accountable for your pacemaker’s failure. You might be able to sue the doctor who implanted it if their medical negligence resulted in an adverse event. You may also be able to sue the medical device manufacturer if their design, craftsmanship or marketing of the pacemaker was poor.
An experienced injury attorney will want to know more about your medical history and the experience that you’ve had with your pacemaker before advising you who you can hold accountable for its failure in your unique case.