Defective Surgical Staplers
Rochester Defective Medical Device Attorneys, Serving Buffalo & Beyond
Surgical staplers are medical devices used in a variety of surgical procedures. When used correctly, surgical staplers can be used externally to close wounds in the skin or internally to deliver staples to internal tissues during surgery. However, since 2012, surgical stapler defects have been reported. These defects have led to numerous complications and life-threatening problems for countless individuals. In a number of cases, defective surgical staplers have even led to the death of patients.
If you suffered complications or injuries or if your loved one died due to a defective surgical stapler, Faraci Lange, LLP can help. Our Rochester defective medical device lawyers are extensively experienced in complex cases involving damages arising from the use of defective surgical staplers. We understand the enormous impact defective medical devices have on the lives of patients and their loved ones, and we are prepared to put our 50+ years of experience on your side. Our firm proudly serves clients in Buffalo, Rochester, and throughout the surrounding counties.
What Are Surgical Staplers?
Surgical staplers are medical devices used to close external wounds and aid in several surgical procedures. Though they are used for a variety of surgeries, surgical staplers are commonly used in gastric bypass and other gastrointestinal surgeries, gynecologic procedures, and thoracic surgeries, among others.
During surgical procedures, surgical staplers are used internally to:
- Cut through tissue and various organs
- Remove certain sections or parts of an organ
- Create connections between different organs/structures
Surgical staplers are also used externally to close skin wounds. They are often used as an alternative to traditional stitches. In either case, surgical staplers implant removable staples.
Surgical Stapler Problems & Recalls
In recent years, several problems with surgical staplers and staples have been reported, prompting a number of recalls on these devices. As early as 2012, patients and families of patients began reporting issues with surgical staplers and staples, including several deaths caused by defective surgical staples that failed to properly hold together internal organs/structures, leading to massive medical complications. In one case, a family in Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against Ethicon, alleging that a defective Ethicon surgical stapler was used in the gastric bypass surgery of a loved one who later died. The lawsuit claimed that the surgical staples used in the procedure failed to properly close the area on which surgery was performed, leading to the contents of the patient’s stomach spilling into the intestines, ultimately leading to death. The jury in the case awarded the plaintiff $5 million.
Since then, numerous problems have been reported and several surgical stapler recalls have been issued. To date, the FDA has issued recalls on the following devices:
- Ethicon Echelon 60mm surgical staplers (2013)
- Ethicon Endopath surgical staplers (2015)
- Medtronic Endo GIA Auto Suture surgical staplers (2018)
- Medtronic Endo GIA Articulating Reloads surgical staplers (2019)
- Ethicon Endo-Surgery Curved surgical staplers (2019)
- Ethicon Echelon Flex surgical staplers (2019)
Severe Injuries Caused by Surgical Stapler Defects
Misfires are among the most problematic defects of surgical staplers. When a staple misfires, it will not embed properly in the patient’s tissues. The result can be a surgical incision that reopens days or weeks after the initial surgery. A twisted staple can also lacerate the surrounding tissues, causing further damage.
Dangerous complications caused by defective surgical staplers and staples are:
- Sepsis or blood infection
- Internal bleeding
- Digestive tract failures
- Stomach leakage
- Consequent surgeries
- Wrongful death
In many cases of gastrointestinal failure caused by a defective surgical stapler, the patient will need to use an ostomy bag for the rest of their life. Using an ostomy bag is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be emotionally distressing.
Injuries Caused by Echelon Flex™ Endopath® Staplers
As mentioned, there are numerous models of surgical staplers that have been recalled or flagged for defects. The Echelon Flex™ Endopath® surgical stapler, in particular, has been noted for its inordinately high likelihood of firing misshapen staples. The injuries caused by misfired staples from this medical device can be severe and might cause injuries not seen when other surgical stapler models are used.
Patients who have been injured by an Echelon Flex™ surgical stapler might suffer from:
- Anastomotic leakage
- Internal or external bleeding
- Hemorrhagic shock
- Organ laceration
If you believe you or a loved one may have been affected by any of the above recalls or may have suffered injuries, complications, or death due to the use of a defective surgical stapler, contact our Rochester defective surgical stapler attorneys at Faraci Lange, LLP for a free case evaluation today.
Like any defective product, surgical staplers can have design defects, manufacturing defects, and/or labeling defects. These defects can lead to a number of problems, including misfiring, malfunctioning, failure to warn of side effects, and more. As a result, patients can sustain serious and even life-threatening injuries.
Common injuries associated with defective surgical staplers include:
- Tissue/organ damage
- Excessive bleeding
- Abnormal connection between structures (fistula)
- Nerve damage
- Infection, sometimes leading to sepsis
Problems with defective surgical staplers have also been shown to be correlated with recurring cancer cells and other serious complications.
Surgical errors can have severe, life-altering consequences for both patients and their families. If you believe your injuries, illness, or complications or the death of your loved one was caused by a defective surgical stapler, contact Faraci Lange, LLP to learn how we can help. Our award-winning attorneys are prepared to thoroughly investigate your case and build a powerful case on your behalf.
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