Georgia Woman Files Lawsuit After Husband’s Implant Explodes

(NationalUSNews.com) — In May 2022, Muhammedou Tarawally had a HeartMate 3 Left Ventricular Assist System (HM 3) implanted to help him with his existing heart problems. The HM 3 is a mechanical circulatory support pump for people who have such severe heart issues that they need a transplant. The device can help people survive for up to 5 years while they wait for a donor heart. There have been other unrelated complaints about the device.

On December 25, 2022, the Tarawally device apparently suffered from a catastrophic failure when one of the three battery cells in its system controller was internally shorted, causing it to become overheated and experience a thermal runaway. A thermal runaway is when one exothermal process triggers other processes, resulting in uncontrollable increases in temperature.

Tarawally was killed in the fire that spread out over his body and the bed he was on. His 3-year-old son was lying at the foot of the bed and is believed to have died from smoke inhalation. Fatou Nguda Secka, Tarawally’s wife and mother of the boy, Matarr Muhammedou, has filed a lawsuit against Thoratec, LLC, and Abbott Laboratories, Inc., which manufactures the device.

She is also suing the managers of the apartment complex she and her family lived in due to a lack of fire protection measures. There were no alarms or sprinklers activated during the fire, as the complex uses what they refer to as a “fire watch” program instead. The watch is supposed to have a person patrolling the apartment complex at all times, looking for signs of problems.

Sadly, the fire watch personnel did not notice the fire. A disabled neighbor in a wheelchair noticed the smell of smoke, saw the smoke, and called a local relative for help. Once there, the relative pulled the fire alarm, alerting everyone to the fire. The lawsuit against the apartment complex alleges there were ongoing problems with their fire protection system, including burst sprinkler systems, fire hydrants with no water pressure, and another recent fire in one of their buildings.

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