Covington woman receives $10.3M verdict

MIAMI COUNTY — After a two-week trial, a Miami County jury rendered a verdict of more than $10.3 million against Cincinnati-based Ethicon Endosurgery, Inc. The client Nikki Simon lost most of her colon after an Ethicon stapler malfunctioned during surgery to remove a non-cancerous polyp.

The court records reveal that in December 2016, 53-year-old Nikki Simon of Covington, was admitted to Upper Valley Medical Center for a routine procedure to remove a benign polyp from her colon. The procedure turned out to be anything but routine.

Court documents show that during the procedure, the surgeon used an Ethicon stapler designed to cut through Nikki’s colon while at the same time creating staple lines on either side of the incision. This was to prevent any intestinal contents from leaking into her system. The plan was to remove part of the colon where the polyp was and then reconnect Simon’s intestines.

But when the surgeon fired the stapler, it performed the cut but failed to staple. As a result, Simon had to have her sigmoid and transverse colon removed. The direct result is that Nikki will have to have to wear a bag on her side to collect her bodily waste. This bag continuously fills with watery stool and needs to be emptied at least every three hours, including at night, court records reveal.

“Nikki will never have a full night’s sleep again,” her attorney, Marc Pera of Crandall & Pera Law, LLC, told the Miami County Court of Common Pleas jury hearing the case against Ethicon. “She is a prisoner to this bag. She will never enjoy another full night of sleep or have the freedom to eat, socialize, travel, or do anything in the way she was able before her surgery.”

“Her freedom has been stolen from her,” attorney Marc Pera of Crandall & Pera Law, LLC.

On April 5, the jury came back with a $10.3 million verdict for Simon — $300,000 more than Pera had requested.

For more information on this case, see the Common Pleas Court of Miami County, General Division Case No.18-443.