The family of Lois Ekind has filed a wrongful death suit against Synthes, Norian, and Dr. Bart Sachs of the Texas Back Institute in Plano. Lois Eskind died on January 13, 2003 when she went into cardiac arrest moments after bone cement made by Synthes, a then subsidiary of Norian, was injected into Eskind’s spine.
This case is unique in that Synthes, Norian, and four company executives plead guilty to criminal charges in 2009 after having been indicted that year in Philadelphia by the United States Attorney’s office. Federal prosecutors were prepared to show that Synthes ignored various aspects of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and labeling process while promoting the bone cement to surgeons from 2001 through 2004.
This failure led to tragic results. Lois Eskind and two others died on operating tables in unapproved and illegal clinical trials in 2003 and 2004. Ryoichi Kirkuchi and Barbara Marcelino were the second and third people to die. Kirkuchi and Marcelino both lived in Northern California and their families have filed a joint lawsuit in California state court.
Eskind’s family faces a potential hurdle in their quest to hold the defendants both accountable and responsible. The federal statute of limitations in cases like this is ordiniarily five years. The family’s attorney, Laura Feldman, argues that the statute should not apply because Synthes failed to notify Eskind’s family that it was testing an unapproved device and Eskind’s daughter only learned of the situation from a reporter in 2011.