Defective Medical Device Litigation in South Carolina

Defective Medical Device Litigation in South Carolina

Defective Medical Device Litigation in South Carolina

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Attorney

An article reported that a wrongful death suit was filed in South Carolina federal district court by a plaintiff against Gyncare, a medical manufacturing company that produces morcellators. The lawsuit challenges the use of the Gynecare Morcellex, a device used in minimally-invasive procedures where a surgeon chooses to cut apart reproductive tissue before removing it through a laparoscopic incision, either during a laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy.  The plaintiff alleges that during this process, the morcellator causes the spreading of microscopic bits of biological tissue into other areas of the body. If the surgical patient has undiagnosed uterine cancer, this cancerous debris can be spread by the morcellator during fibroid surgery and decrease the long-term survival of patients.

In this case, the deceased individual went through a surgical procedure to remove three uterine fibroids. The surgeon performed the removal using the Gynecare Morcellex. After a pathological examination, the fibroids removed were later determined to be malignant.

Wrongful Death Caused by Product Defect

At the center of the wrongful death lawsuit is the plaintiff’s allegation that Gynecare, as the manufacturer of the morcellator, had a duty to warn patients and surgeons of the dangers of using the product, which it failed to do. The plaintiff asserts that, but for the surgeon’s use of the product, the decedent’s cancer would have remained encapsulated in her uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, and would not have spread throughout her body. Allegedly, the deceased individual was found to have cancer cells in areas around her abdomen and uterus and passed away a year after the procedure once the cancer spread to her brain.

Under South Carolina statutes, wrongful death is defined as one that is caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another. A plaintiff must first prove that the defendant had a duty of care that it subsequently breached. Here, the plaintiff alleges that Gynecare had a duty to warn regarding the dangers of the use of its product and that because it failed to warn users, Gynecare breached that duty and that contributed to the patient’s death.

Punitive Damages in South Carolina

The plaintiff in this case is seeking punitive damages damages and claims that Gynecare was reckless in its actions. Notably, the FDA issued an advisory last year warning that when morcellators are used on women with undiagnosed uterine cancer, there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue throughout the body, thus significantly worsening the patient’s likelihood of long-term cancer survival. In South Carolina, the law allows plaintiffs to seek punitive damages if they can prove that the wrongful act or neglect was the result of recklessness, willfulness, or malice. These damages are intended to punish and serve as a deterrent.

Litigating defective product claims involves complex questions of fact and law, which become even more complicated when sought in the context of medical devices. A myriad of expert and scientific testimony are necessary to prove one’s case. If you believe you have a claim for wrongful death due to a defective medical product, the attorneys at Bice Law, LLC may be able to help you seek compensation. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law:

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 500-BICE today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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