A Heart Breaking Case Documents the Dangers of Essure
A heart-breaking – and potentially high-profile – case is set to take the medical device Essure to new levels of controversy in 2017.
The dangers of Essure are not new. The device, which is marketed as the only effective non-surgical form of permanent birth control, has been linked to health complaints ranging from internal bleeding to damaging surrounding organs after being implanted.
Indeed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seen thousands of complaints about Essure dating back to 2002, prompting a significant movement to have the device banned.
However, it is the small number of deaths allegedly caused by Essure that are the deepest concern. Of the four adult fatalities and five fetal deaths recorded, the case of baby Ariel Grace Burrell is the latest tragedy. A lawsuit filed in North Carolina last month lays blame for the newborn’s death squarely at the door of Bayer, one of the main manufacturers of Essure, and the doctors who recommended the device to Ariel’s mother, Kristiana Burrell.
Despite having the Essure device implanted in 2013, Ms. Burrell became pregnant the following year. Ariel Grace was born on June 7th, 2015, just 27 weeks into the pregnancy and weighing only 5.3 ounces. She passed away very shortly after, with the lawsuit claiming a placental abruption caused by the dislodged Essure as the primary factor in her death.
Aside from the unthinkable emotional trauma caused to Ms. Burrell and her family, the lawsuit takes aim at Bayer’s extreme negligence in hiding the device’s failure rate and potential side-effects.
As of last year, the FDA requires explicit warnings of every device to make women aware of the potential dangers of Essure. Tragically, this came too late for the Burrells and baby Ariel Grace. Two years on from the tragedy, her family hopes to spare others the same pain by prosecuting Bayer and making the case a landmark for others contemplating using this controversial product.
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