For these people, nothing could be scarier or worse, and prompt medical attention is critical to having a positive outcome.
One of the main things done when seeking emergency medical treatment for heart related symptoms is to determine if there is a blockage that is causing the problem.
If a blockage is causing the problem, many times a specific type of surgical procedure known as an angioplasty is done in order to open up the blocked vessel and restore normal blood flow to the heart.
One common way to open a blocked vessel is to use a specialized catheter which is often referred to as a "balloon catheter".
This device works in much the way you would expect from its name; once inserted into the blocked vessel, it is inflated like a balloon opening the way for blood to flow properly, deflated and removed.
While these devices have saved countless lives and work effectively much of the time, they are not completely without problems.
One of the largest catheter manufacturers in the United States has issued a recall for some of its balloon catheters used in angioplasty procedures because of reports that the device could be defective and could be harming patients.
There were two accounts of patients suffering injuries because the catheter in question did not properly deflate during the procedure which could result in injuries that are fatal.
Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified the recall from the manufacturer as a class I recall.
Class I recalls are the most serious form of recalls and often involve situations where there is a high possibility that continuing to use the product could result in serious bodily injuries or fatalities.
Balloon catheters are used in a specific type of medical procedure known as a PTCA, or a percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty).
The procedure is done to open blocked or narrowed arteries of the heart or blood vessels.
The information contained in the alert from the FDA stated that the balloon catheters that were recalled were manufactured in Mexico from February of 2007 through December of 2007 and were then distributed on a global scale from March 26, 2007 through January 8, 2008.
The balloon catheters that have been found to be defective have the potential to not deflate or to deflate slowly after they are inserted into the artery or blood vessels in need of treatment.
This could result in a complete blockage of the blood vessels or the artery which could cause the heart rate or rhythm of the heart to change, it could injury the artery of the heart itself, it could result in a heart attack, it could necessitate further surgeries, and it could be fatal.
A letter along with an acknowledgement form was mailed on January 14, 2008 to United States patients advising them of the recall of the catheter.
The manufacturer also had representatives follow up with patients to obtain a signature showing receipt of the letter.
Consumers who were not located in the United States were emailed a notice that also included an acknowledgement that was to be returned so that their distributors could be notified so all the patients in other countries could be notified.
The FDA has also consulted with the manufacturer on how to dispose of the remainder of the defective products.
If you or someone you know has been harmed because of a defective balloon catheter, you should understand that you have legal rights that need to be protected.
The best way to go about doing this is to consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in defective medical devices.
These legal professionals are extremely well versed in this area of the law and will examine your case to determine the best way to proceed.
From here, your best course of action will be explained and your case will be handled from start to finish.
Personal injury attorneys will take on the teams of legal representatives that medical device manufacturers have representing them, and will work hard on your behalf to ensure that you get the justice you so rightly deserve.
Because these cases are so complex, and often hinge on a number of small details, you should not attempt to file on your own without the assistance of a legal professional.
Missing one factor in filing, or being too quick to accept the first offer you receive can ruin your chances of the best possible outcome.
For the most part, compensation in these types of cases can be sought for past, present, and future medical bills, loss of income, loss of quality of life, pain and suffering, as well as for other issues.
In some situations, punitive damages can also be sought.
Punitive damages are nothing more than a monetary form of punishment handed down by the court system in an effort to deter those responsible from committing the same acts in the future.
Since most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, you do not have the added worry and burden of how to fund your claim in advance, or as it progresses through the legal system.
Most of the time you are not required to pay anything until your case is settled.
While a personal injury attorney who specializes in defective medical devices cannot undo the harm that you have suffered, he or she can help you to move forward in a more positive direction.
Medical device manufacturers owe the public a particular duty of care to provide products that are both safe and effective and do not pose a greater threat than benefit.
When this duty of care is breached for any reason, action needs to be taken in order to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
People should never be put in harm's way just so a manufacturer can make a profit.
Filing a lawsuit is not only beneficial for yourself, it also helps to prevent others from having to suffer the same fate in the future.