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Defective Surgical Stapler Lawsuit


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ethicon-surgical-staplerGastric staple-line failures are a potentially lethal complication in Bariatric or gastric bypass surgeries.

In May 2007, a jury found that a woman’s wrongful death was caused by a defective surgical stapler, manufactured by Ethicon, Endo-Surgery, Inc., a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. It was determined that the Ethicon stapler was defective because it failed to form proper staples, allowing her stomach contents to leak into her intestinal cavity. The jury in this case awarded the family of the victim $5 million.

If you or a loved one has had Bariatric, gastric bypass, or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery and since developed complications, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, and we can help.

Complications from Defective Surgical Staplers in Gastric Bypass Surgery

Defective surgical staplers used during gastric bypass surgery may cause serious, life-threatening complications and injuries including:

  • Bleeding
  • Dehiscence (separation of areas that are stitched or stapled together)
  • Anastomotic leakage
  • Hernia
  • Hemorrhage
  • Leaks from staple lines
  • Infection(s)
  • Sepsis
  • Reoperation
  • Death

Coping with a Gastric Bypass Complication: Although not readily apparent in most cases, a loved one’s infection, re operation, death or other various bariatric injuries may have been caused by a defective surgical stapler manufactured by Ethicon or U.S. Surgical.

What is the problem?

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 9,000 adverse event reports related to surgical staplers. More specifically, 90% of these reports involved malfunctions wherein the staplers did not fire or did not form properly. To date, the FDA has received approximately 100 deaths related to surgical staplers.

In the $5 million jury verdict noted above, the manufacturer of the cutter-stapler (Ethicon) attempted to pass blame onto the surgeon, charging that the staple failure was instead caused by “surgeon error.” The jury, however, found that the death was not caused by the surgeon’s error, as gastric bypass surgeons have no way to accurately determine stomach tissue thickness in order to always choose the proper staple cartridge.

The Depth of the Problem

Ethicon began manufacturing the gastric bypass stapler in 1999. Since that time, it has been found that the company has received numerous reports of “staple line failures.” Again, the company has passed blame to the surgeons instead of addressing the actual problem with the stapler / staple unit itself.

It is reported that Ethicon controls approximately 2/3 of the gastric bypass stapler market, while U.S. Surgical takes the remainder.

Do I have a Defective Gastric Bypass Stapler Lawsuit?

The Medical Device and Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in defective surgical stapler and gastric bypass lawsuits. We are pursuing individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Ethicon & U.S. Surgical bariatric and gastric bypass complication cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one has had Bariatric, gastric bypass, or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery and since developed complications, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, and we can help.

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