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Every year more than 200,000 Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest, the unexpected stoppage of the normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract. This prevents oxygen from getting to all parts of the body, including the brain. If cardiac arrest goes untreated for more than five minutes, brain injury is likely to occur.

The odds of survival increases and the risk of brain damage decreases if the patient can be immediately treated with an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED. An AED is a device that is about the size of a lunch box that analyzes a heart rate, determines if it is treatable, and then attempts to shock it back to a sustainable rhythm.

AEDs are so effective that in 1997, Florida law mandated that AEDs be installed in many public locations in order to save the lives of those suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. These AEDs are designed to be easily used by a bystander with little training. They provide visual and voice prompts that guide the user through the process of delivering a resuscitating shock.

However, even a trained user cannot save a life with an AED that is defective. In the past five years, numerous models of AEDs have been recalled because of design problems or other defects.

Here is a list of AED recalls from 2006-2010:

  • Physio-Control Inc., LIFEPAK 20 and LIFEPAK 20e External Defibrillator/Monitors were recalled on May 27, 2010 because a failure on the power supply assembly can result in either “No DC power” or “No DC or AC power”. The failure of battery power can result in the inability to deliver defibrillation therapy.
  • Defibtech LLC, DBP-2800 Battery Pack for ReviveR AED™ and Lifeline AED® Semi-automatic External Defibrillators were recalled on May 21, 2010. AEDs used with the affected battery packs may falsely detect errors and not provide shock therapy when needed.
  • Physio-Control Inc., LIFEPAK 15 Monitor/Defibrillators were recalled on March 4, 2010 because of a potential for the device to unexpectedly power Off and then On by itself, or power Off and not turn On again, or power On and not allow itself to be turned Off. These defects can prevent the unit from delivering needed therapy.
  • Cardiac Science Corporation’s Powerheart, Cardiovive, NK, and Responder Automated External Defibrillators were recalled on November 13, 2009 because defects in some electronic components may not be detected in the device’s self-tests. The defects can cause the device to malfunction during a rescue attempt and prevent resuscitation.
  • Cardiac Science Corporation’s Powerheart, CardioVive, Nihon Kohden, and GE Responder Automated External Defibrillators were recalled on October 12, 2009 because they may not have received adequate electrical safety testing prior to being shipped from the factory.
  • Physio-Control Inc., LIFEPAK CR Plus Automated External Defibrillators were recalled on July 31, 2009 because in an extremely humid environment, the LIFEPAK CR Plus AED may improperly analyze heart rhythm and this may cause the device to delay or fail to deliver therapy.
  • ZOLL Medical Corporation, ZOLL AED Plus Defibrillator was recalled on February 12, 2009 because the AED failed to deliver the defibrillation energy.
  • Welch Allyn AED 10 Automatic External Defibrillator and MRL JumpStart AEDwere issued three separate recalls on December 15, 2008 because the device may experience: low defibrillation energy delivery, unexpected device shutdown, and/or inadequate filtering of electromagnetic noise. Any of these issues could lead to a sudden stoppage of the device and may prevent defibrillation of a patient in cardiac arrest.
  • Physio Control, Inc. LifePak CR Plus Automated External Defibrillators were recalled on August 28, 2008. This AED instructs the responder, using voice prompts, to press the shock button. But, because of improper design, the shock button is not visible and the responder is not able to provide therapy.
  • Welch Allyn AED 10™ Automatic External Defibrillators were recalled on October 26, 2007 because of a defective part that caused a possibility of the devices experiencing failure or unacceptable delay in analyzing a patient’s ECG resulting in possible failure to deliver the appropriate therapy.
  • MRL/Welch Allyn AED 20™ Automatic External Defibrillators were recalled on August 24, 2007 because the devices may display a “Defib Comm” error message on the device display during use which may result in a terminal failure of the device to analyze the patient’s ECG and deliver the appropriate therapy.
  • LifeLine® Semi-Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) and ReviveR® Semi-Automatic External Defibrillators were recalled on February 17, 2007 because the self-test software for these devices may allow a self-test to clear a previously detected low battery condition. This may leave the operator unaware of a low battery, and the device may be unable to deliver a defibrillation shock, which could result in failure to resuscitate a patient.
  • Welch Allyn PIC 50™ Automated External Defibrillators were recalled on June 30, 2006 because an electrical contact problem may result in the device’s failure to provide a defibrillation shock, which could result in delay or failure to resuscitate the patient.
  • Welch Allyn AED 20™ Automated External Defibrillators were recalled on June 15, 2006 because an electrical connection within the recalled devices may fail intermittently, impairing the device’s ability to analyze the patient’s heart rhythm and deliver appropriate therapy. There may or may not be an error message on the device display reading “DEFIB COMM FAIL SELF TEST FAILED.”

If you have lost a loved one because a defective or malfunctioning AED, West Palm Beach heart attack injury attorney Craig Goldenfarb can help. Mr. Goldenfarb has led the efforts to save lives in Florida with AED lawsuits that bring justice to those who have lost family members to cardiac arrest because there was no functioning AED present.

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