Widow Sues Guidant for Husbandís Wrongful Death

Widow Sues Guidant for Husbandís Wrongful Death

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the second man to die from a failed Guidant Corp. heart defibrillator on July 28, 2005.  Allan Gohde’s widow, Kathleen Gohde was horrified to hear a loud beeping coming from her deceased husband’s chest as she leaned over to say her final goodbyes at the funeral home.  The noise was his Guidant heart defibrillator, which was then removed and immediately sent to Guidant Corp. for inspection.  

According to Guidant who inspected the faulty device, Allan Gohde suffered from ventricular defibrillation, which can cause the heart to collapse or experience cardiac arrest without the aid of a defibrillator.  On the day of Gohde’s death, the defibrillator attempted to deliver the saving shock, but “it appears the (device) became non-responsive during this attempt.” Guidant commented in a letter the following October.

This incident however, is not the first reported incident of a failed Guidant defibrillator.  The first was the case of 21-year-old Joshua Oukrop who suffered the same malfunction of the Ventak Prizm 2 defibrillator.  

A New York Times article published following the death of Oukrop prompted Guidant to disclose their knowledge of the device’s malfunction.  The company allegedly was aware of the problem with the particular model defibrillator and chose not to alert doctors and patients.  

“Guidant waited for three years before they told the public of this design flaw,” commented Tara Sutton, an attorney representing the Gohde family.  “They continued to sell them after they knew they had a problem.”

According to Guidant spokeswoman Annette Ruzicka, the company will “not comment on matters of pending litigation.”  

Kathleen Gohde’s lawsuit on behalf of her husband is added to the more than 200 lawsuits, which have already been filed against Guidant for the defective product that has claimed the lives of two men.  Securities analyst Jan Wald comments that although the company may have substantial funds to handle the settlements, the damage done to Guidant’s reputation will significantly hurt business.  

“St. Jude and Medtronic [two rivals of Guidant] will keep using this against them, and it will be hard for them to recapture market share,” Wald says.  

Allan Gohde was reportedly 53-years-old at the time of his death, and is survived by his wife, two children and two grandchildren.  Gohde received his defective Guidant defibrillator in February of 2002, ironically the same month that the company discovered the malfunction with the Ventak Prizm defibrillator.  

In 2005, the patient was warned of the risks associated with his defibrillator, but was purportedly told by Guidant that a change of the device was not recommended.  

“Kathleen wonders how many other men and women have been buried without anyone knowing that a medical device may have contributed to their death,” Sutton comments.  

Find a Lawyer Now

Search for a Personal Injury lawyer in your state or province by using the forms to the right.