Everybody knows that there is an inherent risk in every surgical procedure. Generally, these risks are explained thoroughly to all parties involved. Eva Sloan alleges that her mother, who was an unfortunate victim of broken medical trust, died during a 2003 procedure as a direct result of medical neglect. Eva is currently suing Synthes, a Johnson & Johnson company in the United States District Court alleging that both the company as well as the operating surgeon concealed the illegality, experimental nature and substantial risks of a combination of a Synthes bone cement and barium sulfate that were used during the surgery.
Just moments after receiving an injection of an unapproved bone cement caused Lois Eskind, Eva’s mother, to suffer cardiac arrest and die almost immediately. She became the first of three patients that would die from the use of the unapproved bone cements in 2003 and 2004. Ryoichi Kikuchi and Barbara Marcelino of Northern California were the second and third to die. The United States Department of Justice, Eastern Pennsylvania Division, released a statement that executives from both Norion, who owned Synthes at the time, and Synthes conspired to conduct illegal clinical trials of two of their products in human patients.
Executives okayed the cements, which were to be used to treat vertebral compression fractures, despite their knowledge that the combination of the bone cements with human blood produced blood clots during pilot studies. Following the death of the third patient, these same executives engaged in a cover-up of its unapproved use instead of recalling the product. The case became so egregious that both companies along with four executives plead guilty and were given prison sentences ranging from five to eight months. Included were the company’s chief operating officer, the former head of regulatory and clinical affairs, and the president of the spine division.Years later Eva is suing Synthes, a Johnson & Johnson company for wrongful death, medical negligence and medical fraud. It is unsure whether or not the case will make it in court as the statute of limitations is five years for similar cases. In this particular it will be argued that the statute of limitations does not apply because Synthes failed to disclose the illegal use of the bone cement and discovery was not until much later, when a member of the media made the family aware of the story.