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Deaf Girl's Family Sues Cochlear Ear Implants For $7.25M

VIDEO: Deaf News: Louisville jury punishes company with $7.25 million verdict for selling Meade County girl defective ear implants that shocked her.

LOUISVILLE, KY -- An electrical short caused an 8-year-old girl to be thrown to the ground, vomiting and convulsing. The shocks happened two more times until the device was disconnected. Born Deaf, Breanna Sadler of Vine Grove, Ky., had a cochlear ear device implanted in her head in 2006, when she was 4 years old. Four years later, an electrical short from the device shocked her so violently that she was thrown to the ground, vomiting and convulsing.

After she was shocked two more times, the device had to be removed from her skull and replaced with a competitor’s model in an open-head surgery that took more than seven hours.

Breanna’s parents sued the manufacturer, Advance Bionics of Valencia, Calif., accusing the company of continuing to sell the device after executives knew it was leaking and defective. On Tuesday a U.S. District Court jury in Louisville agreed, awarding Breanna, now 11, and her parents $7.25 million in damages.

In the first of about 40 lawsuits filed nationally to go to trial, the jury said the company should pay $6.25 million in punitive damages alone for recklessly disregarding patient safety.

The Sadlers’ lawyers presented evidence that Advance Bionics executives delayed disclosing the defect so they could sell more devices and get more money when the company was sold. They “chose to ignore risks and focus on profits,” the attorneys said in a brief.

About 4,000 of the devices have been implanted worldwide, and about 1,000 have failed, according to lead plaintiff’s counsel Tim Edwards, who estimated that dozens of patients in the Louisville area are “walking around with the devices in their head that have failed or will fail.” Read More at courier-journal.com/article.

Advanced Bionics HiResolution Bionic Ear System.

LOUISVILLE, KY -- A federal jury has awarded $7.25 million in damages to an 11-year-old girl who suffered severe electric shocks from a defective cochlear-ear implant that has been inserted in 4,000 people most of Deaf children.

Born Deaf, Breanna Sadler of Vine Grove, Ky., had a cochlear ear device implanted in her head in 2006, when she was 4 years old. Four years later, an electrical short shocked her so violently that she was thrown to the ground, vomiting and convulsing.

After she was shocked two more times, the device had to be removed from her skull and replaced with a competitor’s model in an open-head surgery that took more than seven hours.

Her parents sued the manufacturer, Advance Bionics of Valencia, Calif., and on Tuesday a U.S. District Court jury here awarded Breanna, now 11, and her parents the money.

In the first of about 40 lawsuits filed nationally to go to trial, the jury said the company should pay $6.25 million in punitive damages alone for recklessly disregarding patient safety by continuing to sell the device after company officials knew it was leaking and defective.

The Sadlers’ lawyers presented evidence that Advance Bionics executives delayed disclosing the defect so they could sell more devices and get more money when the company was sold. They ” chose to ignore risks and focus on profits,” the lawyers said in a brief.

About 4,000 of the devices have been implanted worldwide, and about 1,000 have failed, according to lead plaintiff’s counsel Tim Edwards of Memphis. Read More at usatoday.com/article/news

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