Faulty Defibrillators are becoming a growing concern. Not long ago lawsuits arose for certain facilities not having defibrillators on site. Now the concern is whether the defibrillators that are on site actually work.
There is no question that external heart defibrillators can save lives. However, like anything else, they must be in proper working order.
How can you tell whether a defibrillator might have problems? A South Florida Sun Sentinel story says to “check the manufacturer’s website periodically to learn about safety alerts or recalls, and to keep up with the changes.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that the FDA demanded safety upgrades in automated external defibrillators from manufacturers in a plan announced Monday after some units were found to have harmful, even deadly, shortcomings.
Here is a tutorial (in Spanish too) about defibrillators, and how to use them, posted by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
The first question to ask is WHY? Why is the defibrillator not working? If the problem was one in manufacturing and/or design, then the manufacturer could be held liable for the resulting injury-which is usually death.
Alternatively, If the problem was one of maintenance, and the owner of the location failed to follow maintenance and/or periodic testing instructions, then the landowner may be held liable. This would be akin to not having a defibrillator on site, or even worse it could be argued that the Plaintiff felt a sense of false security and relied upon the fact that the landowner had a defibrillator on site-This would be true for gyms and other exercise facilities.