Surgical staple lawsuits are mass tort claims against physicians, hospitals, and device manufacturers seeking compensation for injuries that occur when a surgical stapling procedure goes wrong. Staples are frequently used as an alternative to sutures or stitches, but the staplers used by doctors could misfire during a surgery, causing serious complications and injuries such as internal bleeding. If you were harmed by a surgical stapling mishap, consider consulting with an accomplished mass torts attorney to see what legal recourse could be possible.
What Are Surgical Staplers and Staples?
Like stitches or sutures, surgical staplers and staples are used either during internal or external surgical procedures to close incisions or wounds quickly, or to bind the tissue together. The reduction in inflammation and increased speed have made stapling a widely popular alternative to stitching or suturing incisions. The stapler and staples used by a surgeon during a procedure depends on the situation, with the different types of staples including:
- Polymer staples, used in plastic surgeries because they can reduce scarring
- Plastic staples for individuals who could experience a reaction to metal ones
- Titanium staples that would not impact later MRI scans
- Dissolvable staples, which could be particularly useful during internal procedures that would otherwise necessitate a subsequent removal surgery
- Circular staples for certain surgeries such as esophagogastric surgery
There are also various types of surgical staplers, including reusable staplers, disposable staplers, large staplers that look similar to those used on construction sites, and small staplers that appear more like the ones used in an office.
Risks and Injuries Associated with Surgical Staples
There are numerous risks linked to surgical stapling that do not occur when doctors elect to suture an incision. Some of the problems commonly caused by staples are:
- The staple could cause the patient to have an allergic reaction
- The staple could break during placement or afterwards
- Bacteria on the stable could lead to an infection at the incision site
- Plastic or metal on the stable could go into the bloodstream
- The stapler could fire with too much or too little force, damaging the tissue or not closing the incision sufficiently
- The stapler could jam during the surgery, requiring medical staff to use another method to close the incision
- The stapler could fire on accident, causing an unforeseen and serious medical problem
Among the most significant risks of a surgical staple malfunction is the possibility for severe bleeding and infections if the surgical site is not sealed properly. Injuries could also include internal bleeding, organ damage, fistula (an abnormal connection between the blood vessels and organs), and in certain cases, even death.
Surgical Staples Lawsuits
The FDA has expressed concern about the growing reports of problems with the use of surgical staplers, leading it to create a letter to healthcare providers on March 8, 2019 with further recommendations to promote patient safety. The letter detailed the findings of an in-depth analysis conducted by the FDA, which revealed that between January 1, 2011 and March 31, 2018, over 41,000 reports were received regarding surgical staple devices.
In these findings, over 32,000 malfunctions, 9,000 severe injuries, and 366 deaths were reported, with most reports coming from internal stapling. Additionally, numerous lawsuits have been filed for individuals injured by malfunctioning surgical staples. These cases are partly medical malpractice claims against physicians and hospitals involved in the procedure, and partly products liability claims against stapling device manufacturers.
A skilled surgical staple attorney could help victims file a lawsuit for damages to compensate for the losses stemming from their injuries. These damages could compensate for past and future lost income, past and future medical costs, professional repercussions from the injury and recovery, physical pain, and mental anguish.
Learn More About Filing a Surgical Staple Lawsuit
When you find out that a surgical stapling procedure goes wrong, injuring you or a loved one, reach out to competent mass torts attorney for guidance and help. Call to get your questions answered and learn more about filing a surgical staple lawsuit.