California jury awards $2.2 million in defective laparoscopic device case

Encision Inc. (Pink Sheets: ECIA) – A California jury awarded $2.2 million to a patient in a personal injury, product liability, defective laparoscopic device case against a competing medical device company; as reported in the Daily Journal (January 7, 2011, Verdicts and Settlements, page 7, Superior Court, San Diego, CA; case number 37-2008-00078376-CU-MM-CTL).

The San Diego jury found that the female patient received a stray electrosurgical burn to her bowel during her initial laparoscopic surgery which later perforated resulting in a severe intra-abdominal infection (peritonitis).  "The jury returned its verdict, finding defendant liable under both product liability and negligence causes of action.  The jury found that the defective and negligent design of laparoscopic device caused plaintiff's injuries." (Daily Journal).

Boulder-based Encision has developed patented Active Electrode Monitoring® ("AEM") laparoscopic instruments technology to prevent stray energy burns to patients from instrument failure or capacitive coupling during laparoscopic electrosurgery. Encision is the only manufacturer to offer this patient fail-safe feature in its laparoscopic instruments.

"There have been a number of warnings issued about the possibility of stray energy burns during laparoscopy, including scientific presentations at medical congresses and, in May 2010, the US Department of Defense issued its Patient Safety Analysis Center Alert, Stray Energy Burns from Laparoscopic Surgery," said Jack Serino, Encision's President and CEO. "These tragic complications beg for root cause analysis and preventive action."

Mr. Serino added, "Encision believes that stray electrosurgical burns are preventable by incorporating shielding and continuous monitoring into all AEM laparoscopic surgical devices, and that the majority of these types of injuries are technology related and not surgeons' technique related. The rationale for this claim is that these stray energy burns are occurring outside of a surgeon's field of vision which is produced by the laparoscope and displayed on a video monitor. Encision's AEM technology mitigates stray energy burns and protects patients, surgeons, hospitals and manufacturers alike."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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