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Did Surgical Clips Cause Deaths of Kidney Donors?

According to CNN.com, surgical clips made by Teleflex may have played a role in a number of kidney donor deaths. Teleflex sent a warning letter, in some cases several, to hospitals in 2006 letting them know that the clips were not safe to use in laparoscopic kidney donor surgeries. Yet in the wake of five related fatalities since 2001, questions are being raised as to whether the warnings they received were enough. 12 others have suffered injuries.

In Massachusetts, our Boston injury lawyers represent victims and their families with cases against the manufacturers of unsafe products. We also handle medical malpractice cases.

While kidney donor surgery is generally considered safe, using these surgical clips can up the risk of serious health complications. The surgical clips are used to close up the artery, which needs to be cut in order to remove the kidney from the donor, so that the patient doesn’t bleed out. (Staples can also be used to close the artery.) Unfortunately, these clips can slip off, which can cause the patient to bleed to death.

CNN reports that it was in 2004 that transplant surgeons began to express their worries about whether it was safe to use surgical clips on kidney donors. These medical professionals wrote to the US Food and Drug Administration, published articles in medical journals, and gave presentations about their concerns. Teleflex then followed in 2006 with its warning letter.

However, although the FDA called the warnings “effective” and “adequate” in preventing the problem from reoccurring, in an audit the following year only about half of the hospitals that were sent warning letters acknowledged receiving them. (It is important to mention that the packaging of the clips includes a warning symbol cautioning doctors to look at the directions that accompany a tool used to attach the clips. The instructions also warn that the surgical clips shouldn’t be used on kidney donors.)

Massachusetts Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
You want to work with a Boston surgical malpractice law firm that is familiar with the mistakes that can occur during this type of medical procedure and how to prove that negligence caused a victim’s injuries or deaths. Also, unfortunately, there are medical devices and tools that are not safe for certain patients. As with any medical mistake, the consequences can prove fatal.

A victim and his/her family may even have grounds for a Boston products liability lawsuit against a medical device maker.

Kidney-donor deaths linked to surgical clips raise issues of alerts, warnings, CNN, June 20, 2012

Living Donor Kidney Frequently Asked Questions, University of Maryland Medical Center

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