The introduction of the insulin pump in the 1970s was one of the greatest advances in medicine. Previously, people with type 1 diabetes had to give themselves insulin injections multiple times daily. These injections were uncomfortable and sometimes caused redness, swelling and other side effects. Some people also struggled to administer insulin at just the right time, making it more difficult to maintain normal blood sugar (glucose) levels.
For many people, insulin pumps are life-saving tools that make it easier to manage diabetes. Unfortunately, Medtronic, a manufacturer of medical devices, sold defective pumps, putting users at risk for a host of complications.
Now some of those users are fighting back with a lawsuit. Below, we discuss the details of the insulin mass tort to help you determine what to do if you were affected by the Medtronic recall.
What Is the Insulin Mass Tort Lawsuit?
The insulin mass tort, also known as the MiniMed insulin pump lawsuit, is a class-action lawsuit against Medtronic, a U.S. company that manufactures medical devices.
Medtronic produces ventilators, deep brain stimulators and other devices designed to treat serious medical conditions. Before its defective insulin pump came to light, Medtronic enjoyed a positive reputation among patients and healthcare professionals. The company has also been recognized in the following ways:
- Newsweek America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women
- Forbes America’s Best Employers for Veterans
- Forbes World’s Best Employers
- Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion
- Glassdoor Best Places to Work
This reputation for excellence didn’t extend to the MiniMed 600 Series, a pump designed to monitor the user’s glucose level and administer insulin as needed.
After the pump hit the market, some users reported problems with their insulin dosing. Eventually, they discovered that the device came with a low-quality retainer ring, resulting in a poor fit between the insulin reservoir and the pump housing. As a result, affected users weren’t receiving the right amount of insulin.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration received nearly 60,000 complaints about the MiniMed 600 Series between 2015 and 2019. Medtronic was aware of these complaints but didn’t recall the device until 2019, leaving users struggling to manage their diabetes effectively. Medtronic also failed to issue substantive responses to these complaints. The insulin mass tort lawsuit focuses on these issues:
- Medtronic waited four years to issue a recall, well past when it started receiving serious complaints about the MiniMed 600 Series.
- Medtronic didn’t respond to customer complaints.
- Medtronic failed to identify potential problems with the retainer ring in its portable insulin pump.
- Medtronic failed to notify the FDA when it became aware of a problem with the device.
The insulin mass tort focuses on two specific devices: 630G and 670G. Medtronic sold the 630G between September 2016 and February 2020. Model 670G was on the market from May 2015 to December 2020. Both models had faulty retainer rings, causing some users to receive too much insulin. Other users didn’t get as much insulin as they needed.
Harm Associated with the Delayed Recall
People with type 1 diabetes need to maintain tight control over their glucose levels. Too much or too little insulin can cause serious problems, such as seizures, diabetic coma, loss of consciousness, disorientation and dizziness. One person even died after using a MiniMed pump with a defective retainer ring.
Are You Eligible to Participate?
To join the insulin mass tort, you need to meet these criteria:
- You used one of Medtronic’s recalled insulin pumps, either the 630G or the 670G.
- Your device use resulted in some type of injury or damage, such as seizures, diabetic ketoacidosis or diabetic coma.
You may qualify for compensation if you suffered harm from using a defective MiniMed pump. Money awarded in this type of lawsuit is typically used to cover medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and related expenses. If a loved one passed away after using a recalled Medtronic insulin pump, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Hiring an Attorney
Mass tort cases are complex, so hiring an experienced attorney to represent you is important. Once you hire an attorney, they’ll review your medical records and ask questions to help them better understand your situation. The attorney may also consult with medical experts to determine if your injuries were a direct result of using a Medtronic MiniMed insulin pump with a defective retainer ring.
While you wait to meet with an attorney, there are a few things you can do to strengthen your case:
- Look through your files for any documents related to the purchase and use of the MiniMed device, such as product manuals, insurance statements, receipts and physician orders. Contact your insurance company if you can’t find any of these documents. There’s a good chance you needed prior approval to get the device. If you did, your insurer should have a copy of the authorization letter.
- Gather documents related to the harm you suffered from using the defective device. For example, if you were hospitalized due to seizures or diabetic ketoacidosis, you should have copies of billing statements or insurance documents to give to your attorney.
- If you complained to Medtronic about the device, look for a copy of your complaint letter. This can help prove that you alerted the manufacturer to a problem well before the 2019 recall.
Once you have an attorney, it’s important to follow their instructions and provide requested documents in a timely manner. Because mass tort cases are complex, reaching a resolution can take months or even years. Just because it’s taking a long time doesn’t mean that something is wrong or that your attorney isn’t working hard behind the scenes.
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