Brain Implant Removed Without Consent Because Company Went Bankrupt

An Australian woman lost her brain implant because the company went bankrupt.

By Britta DeVore | Published

While every day we bring you stories of how science and technology are growing by leaps and bounds, there are also those tougher tales to share about when things go awry. Such was the case for an Australian woman named Rita Leggett who received a brain implant to put an end to her epilepsy only to have it removed after the company that created the medical device, Neuravista, went under. According to the MIT Technology Review, Leggett was suffering far less with the implant in, now leaving her more prone to her epileptic episodes. 

At just 49 years old, Leggett was brought in for the trial that would see a brain implant installed to track her epileptic condition. Finding ways to live with her illness from the young age of three, the medical device was a complete game changer when it came to how she was able to live her life. Although other patients in the trial had mixed experiences with the implant, Leggett experienced an extremely positive result from the product. 

For years, Leggett struggled to maintain a sense of normalcy in her life. Her fear of having seizures kept her from things as mundane as driving a car and as part of everyday life as seeing friends and family. When she received the brain implant, all of that turned around for her, but, just two years later, her luck would run out.

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After experiencing a taste of life without the worry of an epileptic episode, it was crushing for Leggett and her loved ones when Neuravista went under, and folks like Leggett were told to have their brain implants removed. At first, she and her husband railed against the removal, offering to purchase the implant – something that would have meant remortgaging their house. Unfortunately, they were unable to win their fight, with Leggett being the final patient of the downed company to get her implant removed. 

“I would have done anything to keep it,” Leggett said of her brain implant. Going from a positive outlook on life and having the chance to live like those without epilepsy to dealing with an affliction that has greatly impaired her quality of life is not only heartbreaking but also not uncommon when it comes to others experiencing the same medical “trauma”. As businesses strive to allow customers to live their best lives, they also face the very real fact that money could run out or something else could happen that would shut them down forever. 

While the idea of receiving the most incredible and life-changing care of your life may seem like a terrific thing, it’s crushing to see instances like Leggett’s in which it didn’t work out and she was faced with going back to living day to day with the fear of seizures. With so many medical companies out there, there’s bound to be more brain implants like the one the Australian native received, but with the price of healthcare, specifically when it comes to major procedures like this one, it’s difficult to shop around for another solution. With technology marching forward every day with new discoveries in artificial intelligence, space, and beyond, hopefully, more medical companies can get on the same page and recreate these life-saving devices.