Marrero woman alleges infusion pump was ineffective

By Hoang Tran | Feb 5, 2016

NEW ORLEANS – A chronic pain sufferer is suing the manufacturers of an infusion system claiming that the device was defective and worsened her health.

NEW ORLEANS – A chronic pain sufferer is suing the manufacturers of an infusion system claiming that the device was defective and worsened her health.

Erika Chiasson filed a lawsuit Jan. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Louisiana against Medtronic Inc., Medtronic Neuromodulation, Medtronic Puerto Rico Operations and Medtronic Logistics LLC claiming that the defendants' actions were fraudulent, negligent, violated the Louisiana Product Liability Act, violated the Minnesota False Advertising Act, the Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act, Minnesota Unlawful Trade Practices Act, and caused her severe and permanent damage.

According to the complaint, Chiasson was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease which forced her to undergo cervical neck fusion in 2002. Chiasson also alleges to suffer from severe and chronic pain which is aggravated when she bends, twists, turns her head or during other activities. The suit states she was referred for pain pump placement in 2009.

On Nov. 3, 2009, the suit states, a Medtronic SynchroMed II Implantable Infusion System along with an 8709SC Catheter was implanted in her body at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans by Dr. Eric Royster to administer intrathecal morphine to control her chronic pain. Shortly after the surgical implant of the infusion device, she claims to have started experiencing complications such as weight gain, fluid retention, muscle spasm and localized pain.

She alleges to have suffered these complications until Jan. 28, 2015, when she had the pump removed due to what her attending physician cited as a “nonfunctioning pain pump.” The plaintiff attests that she spent five years suffering from a nonfunctioning device and that defendant was aware of such defect in their products as is evident when the FDA allegedly issued a recall for the device on Aug. 29, 2011, and when defendant issued another recall on May 2013. However, Chiasson claims that she did not receive any notice by form of letter or any such contact.

The plaintiff alleges that the defendants continued to market and sell these devices while willingly ignoring health and safety concerns. She claims to have suffered greatly from defendant’s alleged negligent action including lost wages, physical and mental anguish, loss of self-esteem and medical bills.

She is suing for compensatory damages of more than $75,000, cost and expense of suit, attorney fees, pre- and post-judgment interests, and any other relief deemed just and equitable. She is demanding a jury trial and is represented by Joseph M. Bruno and Melissa A. DeBarbieris from the offices of Bruno & Bruno LLP in New Orleans.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Case number 2:16-cv-00789

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