The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Synthes Lawsuit for Bone Cement Death

Two patients died on the operating table during spinal surgery. The deaths were allegedly linked to an illegal clinical trial of bone cement promoted by Chester County's Synthes Inc.

The families of the two victims, Ryoichi Kikuchi and Barbara Marcelino, both 83-years-old at the time of death, have filed Synthes lawsuits for the bone cement deaths, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. Both had surgery at the John Muir Medical Center in Northern California and died after doctors injected the bone cement into their spines.

Synthes and four executives were named defendants in the lawsuits, while none of the doctors were sued. After injecting the patients with the bone cement, both patients' blood pressures dropped dramatically and the doctors were unable to revive them, reports the Inquirer.

Synthes had allegedly promoted the bone cement and even trained doctors on its use. However, the bone cement was never approved by the FDA for the spinal procedure that caused the deaths.

In a separate criminal trial, Synthes agreed to pay $24 million in fines and penalties as part of a settlement. In a wrongful death lawsuit, Synthes could expect similarly large penalties.

In a medical malpractice action, the families of the victims would likely argue that Synthes was careless in promoting a product for a specific use when the FDA never approved that use. Even if Synthes didn't realize that injecting the bone cement could be lethal, the company should have followed proper procedure and protocol to ensure the product's safety.

A Synthes lawsuit was brought for the bone cement deaths of two elderly patients during surgery. Synthes already paid a heavy criminal penalty and could now pay a large civil penalty as well.

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