Parents of minor who died following surgery to replace defective defibrillator sue

By Kyle Barnett | Oct 9, 2013

Joseph A. Kott

GRETNA – The parents of a deceased boy are suing a medical supply company and local hospital following his death.

Adele Motlow and Philip Motlow, individually and on behalf of their deceased minor son, filed suit against Medtronic Inc., Medtronic Vascular Inc., Troy Phillips and Ochsner Clinic Foundation in the 24th Judicial District Court on Aug. 30.

The Motlows claim on Sept. 25, 2007 their son had a Medtronic pacemaker/defibrillator implanted in for treatment of an inherited cardiac condition known as Long QT Syndrome that can result in sudden cardiac arrest. The plaintiffs allege that prior to the implantation of the defibrillator their son had two episodes of cardiac arrest. The Motlows assert that on Oct. 15, 2007, three weeks after the implantation, Medtronic sent out a letter indicating that one of the leads on the defibrillator had the potential to fracture and injure patients. The plaintiff claims the hospital neglected to inform them or their doctor about the issue and that the manufacturer did not take steps to ensure they knew of the potential problem.

The Motlows allege that it is common knowledge that the longer a lead stays in a patient’s heart the more difficult it is to remove. Following the surgery to install the allegedly defective defibrillator the plaintiffs’ son did not experience further episodes of cardiac arrest over a six year period and then one day his device began beeping and it was determined that it would need to be replaced. However, the patient’s cardiologist noted before the recommendation of a replacement that the lead had indeed fractured. On April 11, 2013 the Motlows’ son underwent surgery to remove the defibrillator and due to the technical issues caused by the fractured lead the surgeon tore a hole in his heart resulting in massive internal hemorrhage and cardiac arrest that necessitated open heart surgery. Following the surgery it was determined the patient had suffered profound brain damage and was in a vegetative state for four months before his eventual death.

The defendant is accused of making a product that was unreasonably dangerous in construction and design and not providing a warning about the defective product directly to the plaintiffs even though is posed a significant risk of harm.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical disability, loss of enjoyment of life, cardiac injury, severe brain damage, disfigurement, scarring, medical expenses and funeral expenses.

The Motlows are represented by Joseph A. Kott of New Orleans-based Herman, Herman & Katz LLC.

The case has been assigned to Division O Judge Ross P. LaDart.

Case no. 730-631.

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