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Surgical stapler lawsuits are mass tort claims against doctors, hospitals, and device-makers seeking compensation for the injuries that happen after a surgical stapling procedure has gone wrong. Staples are increasingly being used during surgeries as an alternative to stitches or sutures. But the staplers that surgeons use can misfire during a procedure, leading to serious injuries and medical complications. The frequency of these misfires has likely been underreported for years, prompting the FDA to consider taking action.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed on behalf of victims who have been hurt by a malfunctioning surgical stapler. These lawsuits are partially medical malpractice claims against the doctors and hospitals involved in the surgical stapling procedure, and partially products liability claims against the makers of the stapling devices. In nearly every one of them, though, the surgical stapling companies have tried to pin blame on the operating surgeon by saying the surgeon’s negligence was responsible for the stapler’s misfire. Nevertheless, many lawsuits have gone to trial and led to sizeable verdicts for the victim. Most prominent among them was a recent California case that ended with a victim being awarded $80 million – including $70 million in punitive damages and surgical stapler manufacturer Ethicon. The victim had nearly died from complications after her anal canal was sealed shut by a defective surgical stapler that was subsequently recalled.