What to do when an Automated Defibrillator Fails
Automated external defibrillators (AED) are widely used throughout the country and stored in areas where large gatherings of individuals may be at risk of cardiac failure. An AED is a portable electronic device that treats cardiac arrest by shooting an electric shock into the heart to resynchronize the heart beat rhythm. But when these devices fail, the increase of death by cardiac arrest rises.
When an individual undergoes cardiac arrest and thus requires what is known as defibrillation, it is typical that they will need a diagnosis and treatment from and automated external defibrillator (AED). An AED is a portable device that applies electric shock to resynchronize the hearts rhythm after a heart attack occurs.
An AED is called external because the operator applies the electrode pads to the bare chest of the victim, unlike internal defibrillators, which have electrodes surgically implanted inside the body of a patient. Currently, there are only two marketable types of AEDs available: semi-automatic and fully-automatic.
Semi-automatic AEDs prompt the user to stand clear and then to push a shock button to defibrillate. Several units, which are fully automatic, do not require a button to be pushed, but rather a shock is delivered automatically after a stand clear voice prompts the user.
AEDs can be found in corporate and governmental offices, shopping centers, airports, restaurants, hotels, sports stadiums, schools and universities, community centers, and other places where large groups of people gather and the risk of a sudden cardiac arrest incident is likely. In some cities, all police vehicles carry an AED. All hospitals, fire departments and health care professionals use AEDs to address cardiac problems as well. These AEDs are indispensable tools for the emergency medical personnel who use them. Therefore it is extremely important that these devices are reliable as they can often mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people each year.
Access Cardio Systems, Inc. Emergency Defibrillator Failures
In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues a worldwide recall of Access Cardio Systems, Inc. emergency defibrillators as they were found to have faulty components that could prevent the device from delivering a proper shock. These defibrillators were discovered to have two probably issues affecting them. It was discovered that failure of the shock delivery circuit board can prevent the delivery of other shocks when in the process of defibrillation in several defibrillators. Additional defibrillators were losing battery power and the switches were becoming inoperable because of an error that caused the on/off switch to turn on without reason or notice. After this malfunction the device will no longer defibrillate or operate correctly. Following the defibrillator recalls, Access Cardio Systems, Inc., the manufacturer of these defibrillators, went out of business. It is not possible to replace any disposable parts for any of the machines that were not found to be defective. The FDA has recalled many of these defibrillators and has advised all Access Cardio Systems, Inc. customers to immediately cease using the devices and to find replacement devices elsewhere.
The FDA Recalls Access Cardio Systems, Inc. Emergency Defibrillators
As part of the FDA's oversight of medical devices the department has a classification system that includes three classes of recalls, Class I, II, and III. Class I recalls are the most serious type of recall and indicates that there is a reasonable chance that the product will cause serious health problems or death. The FDA has issued a Class I recall of the following Access Cardio Systems, Inc. devices:
. AccessAED PAD (without ECG trace) Public Access Defibrillator (Model #9100-0010-0)
. AccessAED PAD Package (without ECG trace) (Model #9100-0015-0)
. AccessAED Package (without audio record) (Model #9100-0150-0)
. AccessAED (without audio record) (Model #9100-0100-0)
. AccessAED (with audio record) (Model #9100-0100-1)
. AccessALS (Advanced Life Support) (Model #9100-0100-2)
. AccessAED Package (with audio record) (Model #9100-0150-1)
. AccessALS Package (Model #9100-0150-2) . In a Class II recall, there is a possibility that the medical device will cause temporary or reversible health problems, or there is a remote chance that the device may cause serious health problems.
Additionally, several recalls of the Access AED and Access ALS Automated External Defibrillators (Model #9100-0100) were issued through the FDA. Individuals who have experienced health problems or injury related to these devices should seek legal advice as they may be able to receive monetary benefits. Individuals that purchased the faulty defibrillators will not likely be receiving refunds at this time, as the company is not refunding anyone.
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