Medtronic MiniMed Insulin Pump Lawsuit Alleges Device Failure Caused Hyperglycemic Episode

An Oklahoma man has filed a product liability lawsuit over a Medtronic Minimed infusion pump failure, which allegedly caused him to suffer hyperglycemia after the device failed to deliver enough insulin.

The complaint (PDF) was filed last month by Clayton Warmoth in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, indicating he experienced problems only a few months before a Class I Medtronic MiniMed pump recall was issued by the manufacturer in February 2020.

Medtronic Minimed insulin pumps are small, computerized devices intended to deliver specific amounts of insulin to diabetic patients throughout the day, via a catheter implanted under the skin. They are wirelessly connected to both the patient’s blood glucose meter and a monitoring system to track glucose levels, as well as a remote controller designed to communicate with the pump and deliver a specific amount of insulin.

When functioning properly, these devices and their components mimic the ways a healthy pancreas works by delivering continuous and controlled doses of rapid-acting insulin, 24 hours a day, to match the user’s body needs. However, following more than 26,000 reports involving Medtronic Minimed pump failures, the manufacturer acknowledged that certain products may be prone to over or under deliver the programmed amount of insulin.

Warmoth’s lawsuit indicates he began using his Minimed device in 2018 to treat his Type 1 diabetes. However, he awoke on July 15, 2019, suffering from difficulty walking and speaking. He was taken to a hospital by ambulance, where it was determined he was suffering from hyperglycemia, with a blood glucose level of 650 milligrams per decaliter (mg/dL).

When the Minimed infusion pumps were recalled, Medtronic indicated there was a defect in the locking retainer rings which prevent the insulin reservoir from being properly set inside the pump when it is loaded, potentially preventing the delivery of life-saving insulin.

“Defendants’ products were defective in light of the dangers posed by their respective design and the likelihood of those avoidable dangers,” the lawsuit states. “There were safer alternative designs that would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of injury.”

The case raises allegations similar to those presented in a growing number of similar Medtronic Minimed lawsuits filed since the recall, each claiming the manufacturer knew, or should have known, defects with the 600 series insulin pumps posed a serious risk for consumers.

Over the coming months and years, as product liability lawyers continue to investigate claims for individuals who experienced problems after a Medtronic Minimed pump failure, the size and scope of the litigation is expected to continue to increase, likely involving hundreds of lawsuits that may be filed in courts nationwide.

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