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The Cost of Guidant Defibrillator Recall

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"This Guidant Defibrillator recall has caused nothing but grief. Besides being upset and angry, it has cost us so much money. When it malfunctioned, the tech guy from Guidant said they would reimburse us $2,500. What a joke, that's just a drop in the bucket and doesn't even cover our medical bills.

Judy Coombs (not her real name pending lawsuit) of Pahrump, Nevada:

"Frank, my husband, had heart problems since 1994. In February, 2005 he had another regular heart test and this time the cardiologist told me that he had a blocked artery and it needed to be cleared. But the main problem was his heart - it was so weak that Frank would be lucky if he lived another five years. He was only 55 years old when the doctor told us this terrifying news.

So the cardiologist recommended that he have a defibrillator put in; it would give him a fighting chance. Since my husband's stroke I have to be the decision-maker, so I went along with the doctor. I tried to explain what was going on to Frank as best I could but he didn't know what to do.

The first Guidant defibrillator cost over $200,000. Luckily our medical insurance covered most of that although we still had to pay 20%.

March 15, 2005: We went for the defibrillator regular three-month check. The technician couldn't get a reading and said it was malfunctioning. We talked to the cardiologist and he said it was either malfunctioning or not working at all and had to be replaced as soon as possible.

March 21: Frank had the Defibrillator replaced.

April 05: The hospital bill came to $218,092 including the Guidant defibrillator. Not including doctor bills.

June 05: We saw the Guidant recalls on television.

July 05: A nurse from Nevada heart centre called me and told me that my husband's defibrillator was one of the recalls. I though they were just going to take it out and replace it again. Instead they just reprogrammed it.

The day Frank's defibrillator was replaced, the technician from Guidant was in the surgery with my husband. He took the original one away. I wasn't thinking about it at the time. I asked him what he was doing there. He said he was taking the defibrillator back to the company to have it checked out and he would call me once he found out. We never heard a word back. And we haven't heard anything about reimbursement either.

My lawyer advised us that we should have held onto the original defribullator. That was after the fact. And why wasn't the second one recalled? The technician said the reprogramming was to take care of the recall.

I figured the cardiologist should have known best.

We have bills for the second defibrillator: $182,453 including the hospital bill, of which we owe about $1,000. The Anesthesiologist was another $1,200 and the doctor was $2,785, (we owe $86). The offer from Guidant clearly isn't going to cover our medical bills.

I was choked when I found out how much they charge for the Guidant. He shouldn't have been charged at all for the replacement. Guidant should have paid for the whole g*d-damn thing!

Not to mention what else - I had to drive many miles back and forth from home to the hospital every day to see him. This whole thing has cost us a fortune.

We were both Chicago cops and hoped to have a secure retirement. So much for that! Guidant definitely needs to start taking responsibility for this sh*t. "

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Resources

If you or a loved one has a defective Guidant Defibrillator implant, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible class action or lawsuit. Please fill in a [Guidant Defibrillator] complaint form.

READER COMMENTS

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jane m.
do you still have the card that came with your difibrillator?
It has the model and serial numbers on it. My lead malfunctioned on 12/04/2011. On 12/08/2011 I had to get all new everything. They couldn't take the old lead out so they ran a new one beside it. I too forgot to ask for the old one but i do still have my card and the booklet that came with it. If you kept the card, that should be all you need.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND FRANK.

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