Plaintiff Receives $80 Million Verdict for Injuries from Malfunctioning Hemorrhoid Stapler
When pharmaceutical companies and medical suppliers fail to take action in response to reports of malfunctioning medical devices, the results can often be tragic. While no amount of money can alleviate years of pain, these are the sorts of cases most befitting the imposition of punitive damages, intended to punish greedy corporations that failed to protect consumers upon learning of the possibility that their products were dangerous. One woman has received a large award of both compensatory and punitive damages for injuries she received during what should have been a routine surgery to correct a hemorrhoid, but which resulted in years of pain and discomfort.
A jury in California recently awarded $10 million in compensatory damages, or money intended to compensate a victim for expenses that victim has or will incur, and $70 million in punitive damages, or money intended as a punishment of a defendant who has ignored a known risk of harm in acting in a certain way. The plaintiff in this case was a former police officer undergoing hemorrhoid surgery, where the surgeon used an Ethicon Proximate PPH Hemorrhoidal Circular Stapler. Unbeknownst to either the surgeon or patient, these devices had been the subject of complaints to Ethicon, the manufacturer, for years. However, Ethicon had brushed off the complaints of the device’s proneness to misfiring as being the fault of the operating doctor, and not the device itself. Sadly, the plaintiff in the case at hand became another victim of the defective device when the operating surgeon fired the staple gun once, but was unable to remove it without pulling the trigger a second time. The second staple had the unfortunate effect of closing the woman’s anal canal, resulting in damage to her bowel and the need to use a colostomy bag for the following four years. The jury found that Ethicon had failed to sufficiently lubricate the devices during manufacturing, requiring doctors to use a greater amount of force when pulling the trigger, which caused the device to misfire. Ethicon subsequently issued a Class I nationwide recall of the device, a form of recall reserved for devices which pose a risk of serious harm or death to patients.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective medical device or dangerous drug in Alabama, contact the experienced Mobile personal injury and defective device attorney J. Allan Brown for a consultation on your possible lawsuit, at 251-473-6691.