Surgeons using a surgical stapler during a procedure.

Surgical Stapler Errors

A recent report issued by the ECRI Institute names the misuse of surgical staplers as the top health technology hazard, trumping other common hazards such as sterile processing errors. The ECRI went on to say that substantial injuries, including death, result from the surgical stapler errors every year. Injury can occur not only from the misuse of the medical instruments but also as a result of defects in the products themselves. 

The FDA reports that close to 110,000 surgical stapler incidences since 2011. These incidences resulted in 412 deaths and 11,181 serious injuries. If you were injured due to misuse of a surgical stapler, you may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim seeking compensation for the harm you have suffered. If you were injured due to the malfunction of a surgical stapler, you may be able to recover compensation under a products liability claim.

What Injuries Are Being Caused by Surgical Stapler Errors?

Surgical staplers work very much like the ones that sit on office desks across the country, except they are used to close wounds and surgical openings. The staple acts as a substitute for needing to hand stitch or suture incisions and openings. Unfortunately, we all know what it is like to use a stapler and have it not work. Staplers can jam or fail to close the staples so what you are stapling is securely fastened. These same errors can occur with surgical staplers.

While some surgical stapler errors are the result of human error, many are due to the stapler itself malfunctioning. In fact, the risk of stapler malfunction has been known by stapler manufacturers for a very long time, but they have been less than forthcoming with doctors and medical facilities about these problems. Surgical stapler errors can have devastating consequences. Complications from such errors may include:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Sepsis
  • Internal organ damage
  • Death

A surgical stapler failure can often take days to identify which makes the likelihood of permanent damage more likely to occur. Sometimes the complications may require a permanent need for an ostomy bag or indefinite digestive issues. There may also be the need for additional problems to address the complications caused by the surgical stapler error.

The type and severity of the damage caused by a surgical stapler error will greatly depend on the location and nature of the error. Errors near sensitive areas, such as vital organs, can have tragic consequences. Internal organs can hemorrhage, causing internal bleeding and organ damage. A misfired staple can become unintendedly embedded in tissues or organs. If a staple fails to completely close or properly seal a wound, infection or sepsis can be the result of bacteria entering the wound. 

All of these injuries are caused by negligence in the use of the surgical stapler, or in the manufacturing of the product itself.

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today

If you have been injured by a surgical stapler, come discuss your options with the dedicated injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy. We will talk to you about legal options to explore so that you can be compensated for your injuries and other losses. Contact us today.