Malfunctioning surgical device caused brain injury, suit claims

By Kelly Holleran | Nov 24, 2008

The children of an Illinois man have filed suit against two corporations, alleging their father experienced brain damage after doctors used a medical device the companies manufactured and distributed.

Elaine Brueggemann and Jeff Edwards claim their father, Henry N. Edwards, went to Bellevelle Memorial Hospital on Dec. 3 for surgery to remove the right upper lobe of his lung, according to a complaint filed Nov. 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

During the surgery, John Sadoff, the doctor, used a device manufactured by Ethicon, Inc., and distributed by Owens and Minor Distribution, Inc., the suit states.

While Sadoff was using the device as it was intended, the device malfunctioned, causing Henry to lose a large amount of blood, Brueggemann and Jeff claim.

"The device cut, but failed to occlude, the pulmonary artery," the suit states.

In addition to brain damage, Henry suffered severe injuries including compartment syndrome in his right arm, debilitation, loss of independence and cognitive retention, memory loss and incontinence, according to the complaint.

Brueggemann and Jeff allege Henry also suffered permanent pain, mental anguish, disability and disfigurement, lost wages, incurred substantial medical costs and has been prevented from attending to his usual affairs and duties.

Ethicon was negligent because the device left the company in a defective and dangerous condition, according to the complaint.

Owens and Minor Distribution was negligent because it failed to inform the purchaser that the device was in a dangerous condition, the suit states.

In the two-count suit, Brueggemann and Jeff are seeking a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs.

Thomas Q. Keefe of Belleville will be representing them.m

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 08-L-592.

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