Who is Eligible to File a Surgical Staples Lawsuit?
After suffering surgical staples injuries, it’s not uncommon for people to wonder whether or not they are eligible to file a surgical staples lawsuit. However, most people don’t focus on this litigation after their procedure because they are concerned about the recovery and rehabilitation process after the surgery.
It’s important to note that a person is eligible for this legal action if they have suffered injuries due to surgical stapler usage. Serious injuries such as deep lacerations and wounds from puncturing arteries, nerves, and tendons can be considered valid injury claims.
Before you begin to file a surgical stapler lawsuit, you have to determine whether or not you are a proper candidate for the legal action. However, it is important to understand that this scenario can be complicated and requires a product liability lawyer. If you suffer injuries following a surgical stapling, be sure to contact a lawyer to advise you on filing a lawsuit.
Do I Qualify for a Surgical Staples Lawsuit?
You might wonder if you qualify for a surgical staples lawsuit since not everybody qualifies for pursuing this type of lawsuit. Here are a few instances that may be eligible for filing a surgical staples lawsuit:
Had a Surgical Operation Involving a Surgical Stapler
Anyone who has had a surgical operation involving a surgical stapler may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. The manufacturer of the stapler is not required to pay any damages, but it may be liable for other damages if they were present during the operation.
Discovered That the Stapler Caused Your Damages
To file a lawsuit against a medical device injury, you must be able to prove that the malpractice or personal injury occurred. You will typically have to show that the stapler malfunctioned, causing you damage. You can prove this through any of the following:
- A medical professional who has firsthand knowledge about your case
- A written report from a doctor or other medical professional who was involved in your case
- An eyewitness account by someone who saw what happened and observed symptoms associated with the injury
- X-Ray reports for the defective staplers
An attorney will help you prove the injuries and understand what legal options are available to you if you decide to proceed with a lawsuit against them.
Wrongful Death of a Family Member
In some cases, medical devices may fail to work properly because they were not designed properly. This can result in serious injuries and even death for the user. In such cases, the families of those who have died due to malfunctioning surgical staplers may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer or other party involved in making or selling these devices.
What Causes Surgical Stapler Injuries?
A defective device and a malfunctioning staple can sometimes, during a surgical procedure, knock even the steadiest hand off its course. Surgical staple user injuries are unfortunately not uncommon. While it’s a very safe procedure, occasionally, it can cause severe injuries. Let’s look at three common causes of stapler injuries.
Surgical Stapler Risks
- Misfiring – Surgical staples are designed to fire reliably and quickly, but they can misfire if damaged or faulty. This can happen if the staple is not properly loaded into the stapler, if there is a misalignment in the device, or if it strikes something during firing. Misfiring can also occur if the stapler’s spring loses tension and pulls back on itself as it fires staples.
- Failure to fire staples – Firing can be difficult for several reasons, including debris in the wound or incision closing device. If firing does not occur, resetting may be necessary.
- Using the incorrect staple for a given surgery – Some surgeries require one type of staple, while others require another kind of staple. If you choose an incorrect one, it could cause an infection within your body.
- Leaks in the staple line – A leaky staple will not only cause more pain for your patient but could also cause additional damage to the surrounding tissue.
- Staple malformation – Malformation of staples occurs when a staple breaks or bends during firing and causes an injury.
Surgical Stapler Injuries
- Organ damage – Organ damage caused by surgical staplers can lead to serious complications like infection or internal bleeding.
- Internal bleeding – As the tissue around the staple line gets pushed against the staple, it can tear and bleed into the surrounding tissue.
- Infection around the staple line – When staples get stuck in tissues and organs, there’s often an infection created by bacteria that live inside those tissues or organs.
- Fistula – Fistulas tend to occur more often during abdominal surgeries because there is more tissue, which requires more staples to close up the wound properly. However, they can also occur during surgery where there is too much pressure on the skin during closing procedures.
- Trauma to the skin around the staple line – This occurs when a patient experiences excessive motion during surgery – resulting in bruising, swelling, and pain.
- Death – Injuries from surgical staplers can be serious and even fatal. Organ damage has led to the death of many victims of surgical stapling.
Surgical Stapler Side Effects
- Bleeding – The surgical stapler has a risk of hemorrhage. This is because it uses compressed air to seal blood vessels and organs. The risk is higher in patients with coagulation disorders or on anticoagulants.
- Fistula formation – A fistula is an abnormal connection between two tissues or organs that have been separated by surgery. The fistula can form because of damage to blood vessels, tissue, or nerves during surgery.
- Tearing of tissues or organs – This usually occurs when the stapler punctures through a blood vessel or other organ, causing it to tear apart – usually requiring additional treatment such as skin grafts and/or temporary sutures.
- Sepsis – Sepsis occurs after stapling surgery because the patient’s body cannot fight off infection as well as it would without a stapler in their body.
Symptoms of Surgical Complications
There are several symptoms of surgical staples complications, these include:
- Yellow, brown, or green discharge around the incision or staples – You may see this because the staple is not fully closed in your skin. It can be irritated by the stapler or a stainless-steel staple itself.
- Reopening of the incision – If you have had a surgical stapling procedure, you will notice that the wound will open up again after it is closed back up. This is because the staple did not completely close off your wound, so the wound may not heal completely and reopen later.
- Redness or swelling around or near the incision – If you have been stapled for an extended period, there may be redness around your incision site and swelling. This is because of a lack of healing and closure of your wounds.
- Red streaks from the incision – This occurs because scar tissue forms at the site of the incision, and it can get irritated by skin movement. The body’s immune system responds to this irritation and releases histamine, causing redness and swelling. If it lasts long, it could indicate a serious infection or nerve damage at the site of the incision.
- New or severe pain – This is a sign that there is still an open wound in your body after surgery. It usually indicates that something didn’t go right during or after your operation.
- Low-grade fever lasting for hours – The temperature inside your body falls as you recover from an operation, but it can rise again when your body fights infection or other complications.
- Increase in the size or depth of the stapled area – This may mean that there has been some bleeding inside your body, which could be serious. If you ignore this, you might end up with severe complications such as sepsis which can lead to death.
How Do You Know If You Are at Risk?
If you want to determine whether or not you’re at risk after surgical stapling, here are the symptoms to watch out for:
Torn or Damaged Internal Organs and Tissues
A defective surgical stapler can cause serious injuries to internal organs and tissues. If the surgery is performed incorrectly, some of the staples may come through the skin and damage internal organs or tissues.
Sepsis is a type of blood poisoning caused by an infection in the body’s bloodstream. It may also be caused by an injury to the skin, intestine, or lungs, leading to infection in these areas.
Bleeding after surgery is not unusual, but if it continues long after surgery leading to excessive blood loss, it could be a sign of bleeding inside the body caused by a defective surgical stapler.
Prolonged or Repeated Surgery Procedure
If you have been having surgical procedures done on you for years at a time, this could be a sign that you are at risk of surgical stapling injuries. Prolonged or repeated surgical procedures increase the risk for other types of complications, including:
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Permanent nerve damage
Patients with digestive problems before or after surgery may be at risk of leaks.
Cancer recurrence occurs when cancer cells grow back after being removed during surgery or radiation therapy treatments; therefore, patients who have had cancer surgery should be watchful for signs of cancer recurrence. It could mean that something was wrong during the stapling.
Settlements in Ethicon Surgical Stapler Lawsuits
Steven Ergler vs. Ethicon
Steven Ergler sued Ethicon in 2016 for selling a defective surgical stapler used during his laparoscopic colectomy. A few days after surgery, it was discovered that the staples had misfired, causing many hernias that damaged his quality of life and caused him pain and humiliation. It required more procedures to fix the staple-related failure. Steven prevailed against Ethicon and was awarded substantial compensatory damages.
David Bakos vs. Ethicon
An Ethicon stapler was used in the gastrointestinal surgery of David Bakos, a Los Angeles County resident, in April 2019. Mr. David began feeling a high fever and unusual abdominal pain a few days later. The anastomotic leak caused by the staples not staying in place necessitated additional procedures.
The body expelled the deformed Ethicon staples as a result. He received compensation and penalties to compensate for his medical expenses and the pain and suffering he endured.
In the FDA’s database, there are more than 41,000 complaints – several people have brought surgical stapler claims against Ethicon, which has prompted the FDA to take the issue more seriously and issue appropriate guidelines and tight quality assurance in the production and management of this critical surgical equipment.
How to Claim Your Compensation
The first thing you need to do is prove that the device caused your injuries. You need to provide evidence of the injury and prove that it was caused by the surgical staple. This can be proved through medical records, such as X-rays or MRIs, or by medical reports written by doctors at the time of your surgery.
Secondly, you need to prove negligence on the part of the manufacturer. This means proving that they knew about problems with their products and didn’t take proper care when making them. It’s also important that they should have taken steps like providing warnings or warning labels before selling their product.
Lastly, you will have to prove how the medical device caused your injuries. You can do this through medical records or photos of your injuries. If possible, it’s also helpful if you can provide video evidence of your surgery.
It’s important that you work with an attorney in handling these types of cases. A lawyer will be able to help you understand your rights and how to build your case against the company responsible for your injuries.
Consult a Surgical Staples Lawsuit Attorney
If surgical staples have injured you, you need to enlist the help of medical malpractice attorneys to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We have an extensive network of lawyers who have handled cases involving surgical staples and other types of medical negligence.
A lawyer can help you understand your rights and develop a case strategy that best reflects your needs in order to obtain the fairest compensation possible. Fill out our contact form and let a lawyer evaluate your case today.