Medical devices are designed to improve users’ quality of life, especially for those who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes. A lot of times, these devices are meant to automatically regulate a process that used to be manually controlled. Insulin pumps are one such example, as they work by delivering small doses of insulin periodically instead of having to inject it the old-fashioned way. Unfortunately, Medtronic brand pumps have recently been revealed to have a serious defect, which has been shown to cause diabetic comas and even death.
Anyone who has been affected by a Medtronic insulin pump is encouraged to come forward at this time, in order to hold the manufacturer accountable for the injuries and damages they’ve caused. The experienced team of product liability attorneys from Van Law Firm is ready to help defend your rights, simply call our office nearest you to schedule a free consultation today.
What are Medtronic Claimants Alleging So Far?
Medtronic insulin pumps are refillable, meaning that users have to periodically change out the insulin cartridges. However, it has been discovered that a certain retainer ring is either defective or missing altogether in some machines. This ring is supposed to lock the cartridges into place. Without proper connection, the cartridge cannot function properly, which then disrupts the dosing schedule and causes users to receive too little or too much insulin. There are numerous health risks associated with sporadic insulin levels, including hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and loss of consciousness.
Users were never notified of this potential defect or the risks they could cause. As a result, countless individuals have been subjected to additional injuries and complications due to malfunctioning pumps. According to data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Medtronic has been notified of at least 26,421 complaints so far, and the company has said that they are investigating at least 2,175 device-related injuries and one confirmed death at this time.
Insulin Pumps and the Importance of Proper Function
Medical scientists and engineers have been designing and testing insulin pumps since the 1970s, but they’ve only been in wide use for about 15 years now. Broadly speaking, insulin pumps are small digital devices that deliver doses of insulin on a pre-set schedule, depending on the user’s needs. They can be used by those with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and they are recommended for children and anyone who may have trouble remembering treatment schedules. Pumps also reduce the number of standard insulin pen injections, which many find to be painful and inconvenient.
There are two main styles of pumps: traditional and modern. Traditional models consist of a cell-phone sized device that is connected to the user’s body via a small plastic tube known as a cannula. There is an insulin reservoir within the device, and it is administered to the user through the cannula on a specific schedule. Most users with traditional models wear the device on their belt or in their pocket.
Modern models, also known as patch models, work in the same way except that the insulin and cannula are contained in an adhesive patch that users wear directly on their skin. These models come with a wireless handheld controller, so there is no external tubing.
Given the fact that pump users depend on these devices to regulate their insulin intake, it is important for device manufacturers such as Medtronic to thoroughly test their products to ensure maximum efficacy. Whenever a device fails, the pump may deliver too little or too much insulin, resulting in either hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, respectively. Both conditions can be life-threatening or fatal.
Which Medtronic Products are Being Implicated?
At this point, Medtronic has officially recalled over 300,000 of their MiniMed pump models. Specifically, this recall applies to any of their Model 630G (MMT-1715) devices made before October of 2019 as well as their Model 670G (MMT-1780) devices manufactured before August of 2019. The main problem, as mentioned above, is that there is a faulty plastic retainer ring which prevents insulin cartridges from being properly loaded into the device.
The FDA has classified this as a Class I recall, which is the most serious type of recall. According to the administration, use of these devices “may cause serious injuries or death.” As of October 5th, 2021, Medtronic has announced that they will replace “any MiniMed™ 600 series insulin pump that has a clear retainer ring with one that has the updated black retainer ring at no charge.” The company has also vowed to replace any MiniMed 600 series pump with the old style ring for free, even if it is not defective or covered by warranty.
To be clear, under no circumstances should you send them your pump if it has caused you additional harm–you will need the defective device as part of your claim.
Questions for Potential Claimants to Consider
Here are just a few of the questions to consider before coming forward with a claim:
- Do you have a history of using one of the affected Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps?
- Does your device feature a defective plastic retainer ring?
- Were you ever notified about the possibility of defective retainer rings?
- Was your device manufactured before August of 2019?
- Did your defective device cause you to suffer additional injuries or complications?
- Do you have the contact information for the doctor or hospital who treated those injuries?
Affected by a Medtronic Pump? Contact Experienced Product Liability Attorneys Now
If you or someone you love has been adversely affected by a defective Medtronic insulin pump, contact the trusted team of mass tort attorneys from Van Law Firm as quickly as possible. We’ve defended consumers’ rights for years, and we’re ready to help you as well. Don’t let the negligence of others worsen your condition or cause you to suffer injury–instead, call our office nearest you to schedule a free consultation today.