In 2005, Jeffrey Johnson was taken to the emergency room for an episode of atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder. Dr. David Hahn used a defibrillator manufactured by Medtronic, Inc., to deliver electric shocks to Johnson’s heart. The defibrillator had synchronous and asynchronous modes, and it reverted to the asynchronous mode after each use. Dr. Hahn intended to deliver synchronized shocks, which required him to select the synchronous mode for each shock.
THE LEGAL ENVIRONMENT DIMENSION
What could Medtronic have done to avoid possible liability to plaintiffs like the Johnsons? Was there a reasonable alternative design for the defibrillator?
THE ECONOMIC DIMENSION
Could Hahn or the hospital be held liable for Johnson’s injury on a product liability theory? Explain.