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Consumer Group Releases New Study About Defective Heart Devices and Implants; Patients Arrive in DC Tomorrow

NEW YORK, March 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study released today by the national consumer rights group Center for Justice & Democracy finds that medical devices for the heart have caused thousands of needless injuries and deaths, yet patients currently have no legal recourse against reckless medical device manufacturers.

The release of the report, HEART SICK - Hazardous Heart Devices and the Importance of Litigation, comes one day before dozens of patients living with faulty medical devices head to Washington to urge Congress to restore their legal rights. These rights were taken away by the U.S. Supreme Court last year in a case called Riegel vs. Medtronic. Legislation has currently been introduced in both Houses of Congress to fix this Supreme Court decision.

"This study tells a devastating tale of greed, cover-ups and reckless behavior by some companies that manufacturer heart devices, such as pacemakers, defibrillators, heart valves and stents," said Joanne Doroshow, Executive Director of the Center for Justice & Democracy. "Some of these devices were placed on the market without adequate testing. This has been with the acquiescence of the Food and Drug Administration, which has repeatedly been unable to properly oversee this hazardous industry."

The study covers devices like those implanted in great-grandmother Bobbie Flowers from Ashdown, Arkansas, who is traveling tomorrow to Washington D.C. to urge Congress to change the law. "In 2006, I had a defibrillator implanted in my heart and within two months I began experiencing painful erratic electrical shocks," said Ms. Flowers. "By the time I got to the emergency room, my children could only watch their mother suffer. They couldn't touch me or try to calm me down because I was getting shocked so violently. Everyone thought I was dying, including myself."

"Heart devices have saved millions of lives, but hundreds of thousands have malfunctioned due to design and manufacturing defects that should have kept these devices off the market," said report author Amanda Melpolder. "When they fail, the results for patients can be catastrophic. Only through litigation have patients and their families been compensated, and in many cases, lawsuits have been the only way information has come to light about some of the most dangerous heart devices."

For a copy of the report, go to or for more information,

SOURCE Center for Justice & Democracy
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