Suit blames product rep for respiratory problems after spinal procedure

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Aug. 19, 2009, 8:00am


MARSHALL -- Suffering from fractured vertebrae, a Harrison County resident was treated by the injection of bone cement directly into the vertebrae. He claims the cement leaked outside of the vertebrae space and traveled into his respiratory system.

Believing his injuries are a result of the product and not the doctor, Adam Lee Crawford filed a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the bone cement, Smith and Nephew Inc., on Aug. 18 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

According to the complaint, Dr. Daniel Theesfeld injected Crawford with Spine-Fix Biomimetic Bone Cement during a vertebroplasty on Aug. 4, 2008, while a representative of the defendant was present. The representative, David Edwards, was involved in the procedure and monitored the product's usage.

However, Crawford maintains that "defendant's employee did not properly instruct plaintiff's physician on the product's usage or monitor the procedure to prevent Plaintiff's injuries."

Crawford states that he experienced severe injury to his respiratory system, including embolization of cement material into his lungs.

According to the lawsuit, "The cement, if leaked outside of the vertebrae space, can travel into the pulmonary arteries causing blockages and severe breathing problems similar to those that this plaintiff has experienced."

The plaintiff states that the defendant should have known that the bone filler cement was being prescribed for treatment of fractured vertebrae by injecting the product directly into the vertebrae.

The lawsuit asserts the defendants are liable for negligence and breach of warranties for failing to warn the plaintiff, plaintiff's physician or the public that the product was not safe and that the defendant is negligent for not providing proper instruction, guidance, or monitoring the application of the cement.

Crawford is seeking damages for medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, loss of earning capacity and physical impairment.

Dallas attorney James L. Mitchell of the Payne Mitchell Law Group LLP is representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation but has referred the case to Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham for pretrial proceedings.

Jury trial requested.

Case No 2:09cv00251

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