A recipient of a Guidant Corp. defibrillator sued the company for not informing patients that there was a risk the defibrillator could short-circuit and cause death. The plaintiff, John Brennan, 74, of Pennsylvania, is seeking class-action status for the suit in Indianapolis federal court. Brennan alleged that by withholding information on the Ventak Prizm's "defective design and manufacture," Guidant prevented patients and doctors from making informed choices. A Guidant spokeswoman said the company does not comment on pending litigation. Guidant manufacturerd approximately 24,000 of the defibrillators before changing the design in November 2002. In a news release last week, the company said problems with the device were rare, with 26 reports of failure, including one recent death. Guidant recommended monitoring patients every three months as prescribed on its labeling rather than replacing the device, saying "The overall device reliability remains high." Brennan is seeking an order forcing Guidant to pay for medical monitoring and surveillance and to refund the defibrillator's cost. -- by Cinda Becker
Guidant sued for not disclosing defibrillator problem
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