Law Street Media

Ethicon Sued Over Allegedly Defective Surgical Stapler

A medical professional with a stethoscope.

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable doctor holding s stethoscope

On Friday a case was filed in the Western District of Washington. The case was filed by a patient against Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc, and regards product liability for surgical staples and stapler produced by Ethicon which allegedly failed during the plaintiff’s surgery.

The plaintiff was suffering from diverticulitis with colonic obstruction and a decision was made with the plaintiff’s surgeon to attempt a robotic-assisted laproscopic sigmoid colectomy surgery to remove the affected portion of the intestine and reattach the unaffected portions to return the patient to a normal condition. The complaint explained that, due to the patient’s anatomy and degree of swelling from the diverticulitis, the surgeon used a more extensive procedure and the stapler was used aggressively to remove the affected intestine.

However, the complaint countered that in the post surgical period, the plaintiff was discovered to have massive distension and infection. A further exploratory procedure discovered that a large section of the stapled area had given way, resulting in massive sepsis and the patient potentially requiring a colostomy for the remainder of her life. Examination of the staples and device used revealed a possible device defect which plaintiff claims resulted in the failure.

The plaintiff is suing for defective product and failure to warn under the Washington State Product Liability act. The plaintiff is represented by Diamond-Massong and Martin Baughman, PLLC.

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