The case involved proof that the manufacturer, Biotronik, through its salesperson, steered the patient toward agreeing to implant a pacemaker without good medical basis to do so. The patient, Tommy Sowards, was forced to undergo a myriad of unnecessary medical treatments and procedures. The jury found that the manufacturer, surgeon, and salesperson conspired to recommend the pacemaker for the purpose of boosting medical device sales, to the detriment of the patient. The case also involved an issue of the defendants losing or destroying records related to the case. The verdict included $2.3 million in compensatory damages, and $65 million in punitive damages.
In January 2007, Sowards underwent surgery and stayed in the hospital for two weeks because of heart troubles. The pacemaker was installed during this surgery, but after consulting with other doctors, Sowards later learned the pacemaker was unneccessary. The device has been turned off, but it is still in Sowards’ chest because his current doctor is afraid removing the device will cause more damage.
Commenting on the verdict, Sowards’ attorney Kathy Love explains “This jury’s verdict is really important to protecting patient safety in this community. I think it sends a strong message to Biotronik that the citizens of New Mexico are not going to put up with this kind of behavior.”
Complaints from at least 30 other patients are currently pending.
The defendants anticipate seeking an appeal of the verdict. The case, Sowards v. Biotronik et al, is pending in the Third Judicial District in New Mexico.
And if you’ve been adversely affected by a misdiagnosis or unnecessary treatment, contact medical malpractice attorneys at Tennessee’s Gilreath & Associates today.